4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Dead in the Water? Not this cracking debut novel!, 25 Sept. 2010
The opening of this thriller is truly shocking. A murderous unprovoked attack on a Venezuelan rainforest village, observed and filmed by a young Rachel Boyd in a stunned reportage style lending even greater veracity and impact to the outrage. The narrative never flags, moving between the rainforest, Caracas, London and Oxford, a coalition Government, intelligence organisations, big business, eco-terrorists and globally warmed freak British weather.
Throughout, the reader has the uneasy feeling that he is not being let in on everything, only what others want him to know - its the real world! Brian Woolland has produced a rattling good thriller but at no time does he sacrifice character for the sake of plot. The main protagonists, the idealistic Rachel, her father Mark, the environmental radical-turned-government advisor, the emotionally confused Jeremy, have the ring of truth - no superheroes here - flawed, uncertain of themselves, their motives and their relationships. The strength of the book is in this very uncertainty. The reader is caught up in the plot twists and turns along with the main characters - who do you believe? Anybody? Nobody? This is a very modern novel - not wrapped neatly with explanatory bows. It challenges you to deal with its (and our) uncertain and mendacious world. I had the pleasure of reading this novel "back to back" with William Boyd's Ordinary Thunderstorms, another thriller by one of the very best British writers of the last thirty years. It speaks volumes for Woolland that Dead in the Water stands comparison with Thunderstorms and (speak it softly) in some respects outdoes Boyd particularly in its absence of "contrivance" to chivvy the plot along. A truly remarkable achievement in a first novel.