Veteran horror writer Masterton (Forest Ghost) exhumes a retrograde jumble of action-movie clichés in this uninspiring near-future parable, set in drought-stricken San Bernardino, Calif. Ex-Marine Martin Makepeace is a social worker contending with PTSD and a broken marriage. When corrupt governor Halford Smiley begins exploiting the water shortage to "cull" the city's poor, the ensuing anarchy—including the framing of Martin's son for rape and murder—requires Martin to reunite his family and flee to a secret lake known only to the last descendants of the Serrano Indians, who willingly cede this inheritance to the very white Martin for not much reason at all. False starts and a protracted denouement do the novel's pacing no favors, and neither does Masterton's clunky prose ("She raised her hand toward Martin in an undulating motion, as if she were trying to demonstrate to him how dolphin swim"). The combination of over-the-top, often grossly sexual violence with a flatly stereotyped cast of heroes, victims, and villains slows the reading experience to a distasteful slog. Agent: Camilla Shestopal, Peters Fraser & Dunlops. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/18/2015 Release date: 09/01/2014 Genre: Fiction
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