In Franklin’s debut novel, an obscure mountain town engages in legal fisticuffs versus Los Angeles over ownership of Lake Clarity.
Ted Gables, attorney at a prestigious New York law firm, returns to California after his father has a stroke. His father had been heading a committee to save the diminishing Lake Clarity, a water source for LA. Charles Vegoran, a devious, politically ambitious lawyer working for the big city, allows the case to go to the state Supreme Court, against the mayor’s wishes. Vegoran, however, didn’t plan on Gables supporting his small town’s cause. The attorney’s research uncovers the fact that Gables, in his youth, had ties to a 50-year-old story of a band of outlaws dynamiting aqueducts near Clarity Craters to preserve the lake. Some characters, such as Gables’ girlfriend’s father, Hayden Lane, and businessman, Anthony Sorano, enter the story without enough exposition. On the other hand, Gables’ relationships with his girlfriend, Romie, and the girl he left behind, Skye, are given an understated but complete arc. Franklin’s novel initially feels like a series of flashbacks, and the striking backstory—Gables’ father blaming himself for his brother’s death and Ted befriending the feared street fighter in middle school—develops the characters, but it also stalls the main plot. At the same time, the various subplots have clear ties to Gables and the lake. It’s an effective method, forming a circular story that’s a constant reminder of Lake Clarity, where all the plotlines converge. The book shifts into second gear when the Supreme Court hears the case, and Sorano’s enforcers—a boxer and his manager—throw around some muscle to scare off the committee.
An uplifting story of a man revisiting his past to save the future for others.