Cold Blood, Hot Sea

Cold Blood, Hot Sea, a cli-fi, eco-lit novel and amateur sleuth mystery, was published by Torrey House Press on June 7, 2016. This is the first in my Maine Oceanography mystery series. Torrey House’s motto is “conservation through literature”, and I am delighted to be working with them.



50% of profits go to Bill McKibben’s

New CoverSome comments about Cold Blood, Hot Sea:

“Through its mystery and its specificity, the novel manages to convey a global problem on a personal level… COLD BLOOD, HOT SEA will make for great beach reading but it also has meat on its bones, with rich characterizations and an intriguing mystery at its core.” Foreword Reviews

“Pacing is spot-on, making for a page-turner that allows time for reflection on larger issues … of note is the friendship between [Mara and Harvey]; their relationship is warm, believable, and modernly feminist without being preachy. Cold Blood, Hot Sea will make for great beach reading, but it also has met on its bones, with rich characterization and an intriguing mystery at its core.” Foreward Reviews, the independent publishers’ magazine

“Sleuths will have to figure out who done it, but the real crime is the backdrop here: the endless heating of a fragile planet.” Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth and founder of

a cli-fi mystery that both entertains and bores deep into the heart of the issues. The author knows her science, too.”  Dan Bloom, editor, The Cli-Fi Report

In ‘Cold Blood, Hot Sea’ author D’Avanzo gets everything right: the plot, the characters, the science, the deniers, and most especially, the lives of climate scientists today. You will have a hard time putting it down.” James L. Powell, author of “Rough Winds: Extreme Weather” and “Climate Change and The Inquisition of Climate Science”

“A page turner set in Maine’s picturesque working waterfront where lobsters aren’t the only ones feeling the heat.” Kay Henry, co-founder Mad River Canoe and co-founder Northern Forest Canoe Trail

“Paddlers will love this book’s hero – an oceanographer who uses her kayak to thwart climate change deniers.” Lee Bumsted, Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide and author, Hot Showers! Maine Coast Lodgings for Kayakers and Sailors

“… when it comes to research vessels, labs and scientific protocols, she knows her stuff … the action scenes are genuinely thrilling page- turners … red herrings … are nicely handled. And as a bonus there’s a lobster called Homer (Homarus americanus being its scientific name)… the Down East setting is, of course, a plus… All in all, Mara Tusconi is an attractive enough character, dealing compellingly with issues I care about, that I wouldn’t mind encountering her again.” Portland Press Herald by Thomas Urquhart


The Story

In Cold Blood, Hot Sea, oceanographer Mara Tusconi investigates something much hotter than the ocean’s temperature––a potential murder aboard Research Vessel Endeavor.

When Peter is crushed by a half-ton buoy in what is called a freak accident, Mara is outraged and suspicious. She’s also spooked because this feels all too familiar. Mara’s parents, famous ocean defenders, died in a bizarre submarine accident twelve years earlier when Mara was nineteen. She’s always wondered if the sub was sabotaged and now fears that Peter’s death was also made to look like a mishap.

Mara relies on her science smarts, spunk, and intuition to find out. Risking her job when her smarmy boss forbids the investigation, and drowning when she and her kayak are nearly run over by a motorboat, Mara discovers a shocking intrigue as big and dark as the ocean.

I was motivated to write the book when I listened to a famous climate scientist describe the tactics climate change doubters used to harass him.  To read an interview in which I describe this and my life as a college professor and marine scientist click the link. Note that the title of the book has changed.

Copper River, AK

On the Copper River, Alaska


Kayaking near my home in Yarmouth, Maine