Dodds (Windfall, 2014, etc.) delivers a speculative novel about a powerful former politician and those he seeks to manipulate.
When Raquel, a prostitute, is thrown out of an airplane midflight, it seem like she’s as good as dead. During the flight, she’d been having sex with a man of many aliases—a former U.S. senator named Robert Hurley, who’s wealthy beyond imagination. (He previously appeared in Windfall, which introduced this novel’s world of corruption and violence.) Fortunately, Raquel was wearing a parachute when she was ejected, and she happens to land in the vicinity of a gentle soul named Norwood, a former sculptor who makes a precarious living breeding snakes and doing odd jobs. He’s also a Luddite who shuns technology, including cellphones and the internet, and he lives in an area where others feel the same. As Norwood and Raquel form an unlikely bond, Hurley becomes obsessed with tracking down the latter. He enlists the help of his passionate assistant, Tyra, who, in turn, enlists the help of a financial adviser named Gavin after she sees him tear a pigeon in half on a Manhattan street. Who, if anyone, in this strange assemblage will come out on top? As the story grows more complex, adding hit men, former hit men, and a bizarre commemoration of the 9/11 attacks to the mix, readers will never be quite sure what lurks around the next corner. The tale effectively tackles such timely concerns as the lack of security in social media and the idea that someone as well-off as Hurley can do just about anything he wants (“Illegal is only another word for expensive,” the former senator explains), and it offers meditations on the dangers of technology and money. Although the story can seem heavy-handed at times—would people who dislike cellphones really form whole neighborhoods just to avoid them?—it provides plenty of action to counter its more ponderous moments.
An appealing mix of adventure and contemplation.