Swamp Thing meets the Toxic Avenger: The hardcover debut by the author of War Surf (2005, etc.) takes a bewildering slog through mud and mosquitoes.
MIT dropout CJ Reilly, fleeing from deep emotional conflicts over the suicide of her sarcastic, science-whiz father Harry, arrives at Devil’s Swamp near Baton Rouge to work on pollution cleanup for the Quimicron corporation. With her Cajun boyfriend, Max Pottevents, she stumbles upon an astonishing phenomenon: a pollutant-soaked pond that, despite the warm weather, is somehow frozen. When she walks on the ice, it liquefies; when she goes under, it probes her bodily orifices, then abruptly releases her. The pond, apparently some sort of colloidal suspension of algae, computer chips, metals, pollutants and what-all, also emits an electromagnetic field pulsing in time to Max’s zydeco music! The colloid also can produce pure, fresh water, which arouses CJ’s intense interest. She begins to suspect that the colloid is somehow alive. Later, another worker falls in and is killed, prompting Quimicron’s craggy, charismatic CEO, Roman Sacony, to take charge of the operation. But as word leaks out, coke-addled muckraker Hal Butler blogs about a mysterious “Watermind.” The colloid shifts into a nearby canal, eating up containment walls, dissolving boats, creating mayhem. While CJ and Max try to communicate with the colloid by teaching it music, Sacony, envisaging lawsuits and disaster for Quimicron, determines to destroy it. But the colloid is wily and tough; when threatened, it shifts downstream, smashing all efforts to contain it. Demonstrators, religious types, the Corps of Engineers and the Coast Guard converge. Reluctantly, CJ agrees that the colloid must be destroyed. But how?
Churning furiously, packed with local color, but has no real plot and few sympathetic characters.