Colin Dodd’s latest novel Watershed, a gripping thriller, begins when Raquel, a pretty young escort, is thrown out of a helicopter. From there, the story only gets stranger and more complex, as Raquel meets Norwood, a former sculptor who earns his living from odd off-the-books jobs and selling snakes. Set in the near future, Norwood is a “Ludlite,” part of a community that eschews all modern technology – part hipster, part Luddite.
After Raquel meets Norwood, the pair becomes embroiled in the sinister plans of former Senator Robert Hurley, also known as Rudolf Ostanze. Hurley is a man of seemingly infinite wealth and power who wants the one thing money can’t buy: the baby growing in Raquel’s womb, which may or may not be his. As Hurley sends Tyra, his hired hand, to dog Raquel, it becomes clear that Hurley is involved in a much bigger conspiracy. Meanwhile, plans are underway for real estate fraud, disguised as a commemoration for 9/11.
Just as intriguing as the plot are the strange and satiric details about the near-future in which it’s set. Dodd builds a world that is unique and complex, where people do lines of bacon and celebrate Nine-Eleven as a national holiday with fireworks and big explosions. The world building and character details allow Dodd to tell a story with common thriller tropes but elevate it to a fun and strange level.
Throughout, Dodd peppers the text with wonderfully unique descriptions and interesting use of language, like “She looked like a tall glass of money” and “She was small and highly compressed, with a face as plain as if someone had written FACE on a sheet of printer paper.”
Watershed is a fun read for fans of thrillers and dystopian futures alike. Though not quite a beach read (did we mention there’s a lot going on?), the novel’s unexpected twists and turns will hold your attention from start to finish.