Carbon Dreams, by Susan M. Gaines (also climate change and oceanography) At an oceanography institute in northern California, geochemist Tina Arenas studies climates of the distant geologic past. Heedless of life beyond her circle of scientists, Tina is immersed in a world of dinosaurs and shifting continents, where time is measured in ten-million-year spans—but when both her research and an extracurricular love affair take off in directions she has not anticipated, she is catapulted into the late twentieth century world of people and politics.
Zodiac, by Neal Stephenson (also microbiology and ecology) Sangamon Taylor’s a New Age Sam Spade who sports a wet suit instead of a trench coat and prefers Jolt from the can to Scotch on the rocks. He knows about chemical sludge the way he knows about evil—all too intimately. And the toxic trail he follows leads to some high and foul places. As he navigates this ecological thriller with hardboiled wit and the biggest outboard motor he can get his hands on, Taylor reveals himself as one of the last of the white-hatted good guys in a very toxic world.