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.
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