The Unknown Knowns

Jeffrey Rotter, Author . Scribner $25 (259p) ISBN 978-1-4165-8702-6

Jim Rath has an unusual set of ambitions: “My goal was a thorough understanding of water,” he says. “But not on a chemical level. Not in any way you could test.... I wanted to know why the water is always calling to us, what it wants to tell us.” In this ambling adventure, he attempts to find out. Combining Rath's story (including the predictable dissolution of his marriage) with that of Homeland Security agent Les Diaz, Rotter, in his first novel, weaves a semisuspenseful tale of (possible) international terrorism and, uh, water parks. Parading from a Colorado Springs, Colo., Hilton all the way to the Prospector's Bend theme park outside of Denver, Rath and Diaz engage in a battle of something like wits; Diaz thinks Rath is a jihadist, while Rath—at best a dreamer, at worst a psychopath—thinks Diaz is a merman from an imaginary underwater city. While Rotter makes a solid effort, the fantasy element of the book remains half-baked and, despite the timely and biting humor throughout, the thrill of the goofy 320-page chase isn't quite enough. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 10/13/2008
Release date: 03/01/2009
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 266 pages - 978-1-4165-8703-3
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4165-9546-5
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-224-08540-3
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