WATER HAZARD by Scott Borg


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 Sexual debauchery and twisted identities reign in an intricately descriptive first novel, a thriller that reads like North by Northwest re-scripted by Joe Eszterhas and Franz Kafka. When sad-sack Anderson (no first name) agrees to help a lumbering barroom loudmouth make time with a couple of luscious coeds, he can't imagine that, only hours later, he'll be fighting for his life while his double, a man named Peterson, tries to drown him. Wet, dazed, and confused after killing his look-alike assailant, Anderson struggles back to Minnesota's Twin Cities, where he discovers that everyone thinks it's Anderson who has perished. Confronted with the denial of his ``true'' identity at every turn, Anderson flees into the awkward refuge of Peterson's personality. Not that it's the worst place to hide out: a genius multimillionaire with epicurean tastes and raunchy libidinal appetites, Peterson was in the dissertation-for-hire business: For an indefinite price, he would crank out a brilliant treatise in any discipline, sell the work to some mediocre scholar, and then blackmail the new professor into providing him with investment information or access to his wife. Briefly, Anderson gets into occupying Peterson's world, which features, among other perks, a sprawling apartment (complete with a Playboy mansion bedroom, wine cellar, and Jacuzzi) and a steady diet of saucy babes. Matters become thorny, however, after Shannon--Peterson's co-conspirator and preferred sackmate--appears, claiming that Anderson is really just a deluded Peterson. Dodging repeated attacks from a mysterious motorcyclist, Anderson combats his doubts while brooding over his increased comfort with Peterson's intellectually haughty and consummately horny existence. In desperation, he tracks down one of the well-endowed coeds who was an inadvertent accomplice to his original abduction, but nothing seems to be able to derail Peterson's master plan, which gradually develops an irresistible force. An immensely readable debut jammed with odd details, elaborate fight scenes, and loads of athletic, midwestern sex.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-30606-7
Page count: 405pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1995