Fatal Winds tells the stories of people who were downwind of radioactive fallout during the atomic bomb tests conducted in the Nevada desert during the 50s and 60s.
Troubled by the death of my young cousin Jimmy, I was inspired me to research and write about the bomb. Following is an overview of the story:
Called into wartime service at Los Alamos, young physicist Reese Mayfield applies his genius to developing the first atomic bomb. At 5:29.21 a.m. on July 16, 1945. “The Gadget,” as it is code-named, explodes and changes the world and Reese forever.
Although the bomb ends the WWII bloodshed, Reese questions its other effects when his first love dies of cancer from proximity to the first atomic test. After the war, Reese pursues a medical degree to study the effects of radioactive fallout. What he learns deeply disturbs him: In southern Utah, downwind of the Nevada test site, ranchers are losing livestock to deformity and mutation, and children and adults are dying of cancer. Mothers are having their children’s teeth tested for lethal radioactive exposure. Pigs are being used to test blast-proof clothing. Reese is driven to protest the continued testing, but the government regards the residents as collateral damage, and testing continues. The Cold War has shifted the nation’s priorities—America must lead the world in nuclear weapons. Downwinders are the sacrificial victims.
“Fatal Winds” is an 80,000 word historical novel about these victims. During this era, few comprehended the long-term effects the bomb would have on its developers and the residents living near the test sites. Reese Mayfield’s story represents the heart of these experiences. It is based on fact.