The (near) future is so bright I have to wear shades… or my eyes will burn away due to the slightly familiar hellscape I see there: A review of WINDFALL & WATERSHED by Colin Dodds

DETAILS

TITLE: Windfall/Watershed

AUTHOR: Colin Dodds

PUBLISHER: Amazon Digital Services

PAGE COUNT: 342/340

GENRE: Fiction

RELEASE DATE: January 16, 2014/May 12, 2017

FROM THE PUBLISHER

Windfall is the story of Seth Tatton, a corporate attorney with a side job – killing people for a cabal of politicians, magnates and military leaders. And even in his secret life, things aren’t what they seem, because there’s something inside him, something with big plans. But when Seth is assigned to watch a troubled young woman, all of those plans start to fall apart…

Watershed is a dystopian thriller about a troubled, pregnant woman, and the two men—a snake dealer with a sideline in secret messages and a billionaire living under a false name—who vie for her. Their struggle leads them through a near-future America of anti-technology neighborhoods and illegal hospitals, where stockbrokers moonlight as assassins, nurses procure obscure pleasures, and the powers that be blow up the new World Trade Center to goose tourism. As the mystery deepens, one thing becomes clear – the future’s about to be born… but who will change the diapers?

REVIEW

In Colin Dodds’ Windfall, readers are introduced to Seth Tatton, a man who, at time, they love to hate, and at other times, they hate to love. One of my favorite quotes from the book comes early on when we’re just getting to know Tatton:

Seth knew he was pushing his luck. But something in him twitched around Hurley—a kinship. Maybe just one predator recognizing another. It reminded Seth of the revelatory thrill that came with a stolen pleasure or a stolen life.

It explains Tatton in a simple, though stylized, way that isn’t often repeated. It’s a little tidbit of information that shows more than it tells and makes me want to read more. And should make you want to read more as well.

Though characters are the most important aspect of any story, Dodds is not content to give his readers an interesting protagonist. He also gives us a world that is twisted just enough to be simultaneously familiar and terribly frightening. It is a dystopian not-so-distant future in which Civil War II looms large, politicians and lawyers pull strings behind the scenes, and murder is a way of life.

Also, Tatton is possessed by a demon whose intricately formed history is just as interesting as his present. It’s so well-developed, in fact, I imagine Dodds did a fair amount of research in order to make the story as real as possible. In other words, Dodds manages to throw fantasy, horror, and sci-fi into a mixing bowl and stir his readers up a delicious literary cake, cook it, and serve it with a sly and knowing smile. It may be cliché to say, but trust me, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll want more.

Luckily, there is more. In Windfall’s sequel, Watershed, Tatton’s despicable boss, US Senator Robert Hurley takes center stage as he tries again and again to murder a prostitute named Raquel . . . and fails . . . again and again. This is sometimes comedic but oftentimes terrifying:

The horror was worse than the panic, like her body was trying to turn inside out just to escape. The horror told Raquel one thing: She had gotten it wrong, she had misunderstood things completely, and the price for that is and would be non negotiable.

The above quote is near the beginning of the book and sets the tone for a series of frightening events that takes place in that all-too-familiar world of the near future Tatton struggles through in Windfall. In Watershed though, readers are, at times, shown the story through the eyes of a Luddite named Norwood. This, of course, gives the world a more frightening feeling. Not only do readers get to look at this near-future and feel that pit in their bellies made up of fear of what’s to come, but they get to see it in the moment as though technology is the enemy.

At times a caper novel, at other times a chase story, a romance, a dystopian sci-fi continent-bouncing epic that takes its readers from quaint forests to bustling metropolises and the ends of the world, Watershed makes the future introduced in Windfall larger and scarier.

In our current political climate, the ideas of power and lies, of politics and morality, of war and reasons for it, sex and image, Watershed is a must read. You never know . . . it might be more of a prophesy than any of us want to believe.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

I burned through both Windfall and Watershed in a matter of days. They gave me nightmares but, I think, at the same time prepared me for the worst the future has to offer.

BLURB

Read these books. You won’t be sorry . . . though you may be changed.