Thursday, 19 December 2013

Book Review: Afloat by Erin Healy


I love a novel that stays in my mind long after finishing it. Afloat is one of those novels. I'm a long time fan of Erin Healy as she presents a unique perspective on the "thin places" (as she describes it) where the natural meets the supernatural. 

The blurb for "Afloat" goes something like this:

Architect Vance Nolan has crafted a marvel—shining apartments floating in the peaceful cove of a winding river. The project is partially occupied and about to make investors rich when a sinkhole gives way.
Torrential rains quickly flood the cove, leaving a handful of builders, investors, and residents cut off from the rest of the world.
The motley group is bitterly divided over how to survive.
Vance insists they wait for rescue. Developer Tony Dean wants to strike out into the darkness. And single-mom Danielle Clement, obligated to each man and desperate to protect her young son, Simeon, isn’t sure which one is wiser.
Power failure, an unnatural daytime darkness, explosions, and a murder expose hidden intentions and dark histories. Then Simeon spots something strange underwater—beautiful, shifting lights in the dark depths.
In this watery world, everyone’s secrets will eventually come to light. And deliverance may mean more than just getting out alive

Healy powerfully blends natural disaster, murder and the supernatural to craft a fascinating multi-layered story. Her mastery of the writing craft and ability to create intriguing multi-dimensional characters make Afloat a compelling read.

Even though the action commenced immediately, it took me a while to absorb the complexity surrounding the disaster and the introduction of many characters. I enjoyed this detail even though there were times when I found it challenging to visualize the full extent of the scene unfolding.

But once the survivors are thrown together the novel really takes off. Vance Nolan is a marvelous hero. He’s flawed with a troubled past, but selflessly courageous. Zeke, the blind man of faith, and a father figure, has invested years of love and wisdom in Vance and their relationship is a beautiful illustration of the power of committed friendship.

Most of the characters are complex. We see their foibles, inhibitions, hopes and fears. Developer Tony Dean is an excellent antagonist. Greed, power, lust, we see it everyday, but perhaps not so well portrayed in a fictional character like Tony Dean.

The reason this novel still lingers in my mind and why it is so special is there is so much to take away from it. Every reader will be grabbed by something different to ponder. And that is its’ magic. Whether it’s redemption, bad things do happen to good people, or sometimes faith involves staying put and waiting it out, there is so much in this novel. And I haven’t even mentioned the angelic intruders.


Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, is now available in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

7 comments:

  1. Good review - it would make me want to read the book (if I hadn't already read and reviewed it myself!).

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  2. Replies
    1. As you can tell I sure enjoyed it. Vance Nolan is an excellent hero...

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  3. I'll be looking out for it for sure. Thanks, Ian.

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  4. Ian, great review! Afloat sounds like a complex and fascinating read. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts :)

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  5. Sounds wonderful, Ian! Thanks for reviewing it and letting us know about it.

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