Review: Supercell by H.W. Buzz Bernard

Published in 2013 by Bell Bridge Books, this weather based action thriller has a slow start but does manage to pull the reader into a complex story. A jaded storm chaser relives memories of his one failure and gives the impression of being a near alcoholic. He’s joined by an FBI agent on the hunt for a duo of criminals chasing storms in order to line their pockets and a movie producer with an unreal perception what storm chasing is all about.

I am a disaster flick/book junkie. It’s one of the genres that will guarantee I’ll be watching the movie or reading the book about the snowstorm threatening to bury the world, tornado outbreaks dropping onto unsuspecting communities, or hurricanes promising destruction. To say I devour anything in this area is an understatement. When I asked to review this book, I was looking forward to an edge of the seat, cutting edge novel that would have me yearning for more.

Supercell had a good start, the memory of a meteorological event taking lives and leaving a storm chaser with a lost reputation, destroyed marriage and relationship with his son, and bankrupt. I was hooked, until the story evolved into more of a tale about the people rather than the storms that interest them. Yet, I preserved and found the gem of a great tale hidden beneath these personalities.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a story for those who love to read about disasters, but it is also a tale of the people behind the scenes. Storm chasers are often portrayed as super human types, chasing after the impossible—a solution to the major events that threaten communities. They do appear to be focused on their goal, getting answers to what drives these storms. Yet, I was somewhat disappointed in this story, in that it paid attention more to the people and their goals rather than the storms themselves.

Supercell is a nice easy read, if the reader isn’t seeking a complex story about the storms that devastate communities and is willing to understand the people behind the stories. The climax doesn’t disappoint, giving true disaster book junkies the detail they’re seeking. All in all, I can give Supercell 4 stars, based on the depth of information provided and the entertainment value. 

Before becoming a novelist, Buzz worked at The Weather Channel as a senior meteorologist for 13 years.  Prior to that, he served as a weather officer in the U.S. Air Force for over three decades.  He attained the rank of colonel and received, among other awards, the Legion of Merit.

His “airborne” experiences include a mission with the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters, air drops over the Arctic Ocean and Turkey, and a stint as a weather officer aboard a Tactical Air Command airborne command post (C-135).

In the past, he’s provided field support to forest fire fighting operations in the Pacific Northwest, spent a summer working on Alaska’s arctic slope, and served two tours in Vietnam.  Various other jobs, both civilian and military, have taken him to Germany, Saudi Arabia and Panama.

He’s a native Oregonian and attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he earned a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric science; he also studied creative writing.

Buzz currently is vice president of the Southeastern Writers Association.  He’s a member of International Thriller Writers, the Atlanta Writers Club and Willamette Writers.

He and his wife Christina live in Roswell, Georgia, along with their fuzzy and sometimes over-active Shih-Tzu, Stormy.