Patrick Hamlin leaves the east coast when his novel is turned into a film. This promises to be his big breakthrough, especially since Cassidy Carter is going to play the lead role. The young film and internet star is sure to attract a great audience. But from the start, Patrick has the sensation that strange things are going on. First, the bunch of youngsters who should care for him but do not seem to have a clue about the job and also Brenda and Jay who hardly show an interest in the film they are about to produce. That life on the west coast differs from his eastern home does not surprise Patrick, yet the extent is astonishing since people heavily rely on a product called WAT-R instead of the ordinary water he knows. At the beginning, he is just annoyed by all the things which seem to go wrong and Cassidy’s diva attitude, however, after a couple of days, the hints that there is something really going on behind the scenes are hard to ignore anymore and thus, Patrick starts to investigate.
Alexandra Kleeman‘s novel is the perfect read of the moment. Many people around the globe are unsure about what to believe and convinced that there is some kind of deep going conspiracy the ordinary people cannot see and therefore are just figures in a game without realising it. The ecological crisis with water shortage and raging wildfires in California is another aspect she cleverly incorporates into the plot.
The reader, together with Patrick, tries to make sense of the things he experiences in California while his wife and daughter at home seems to have fallen prey to a strange cult which goes into the complete opposite rejecting all modern technology and focussing on basic needs and a reduced life on a farm outside town. While worrying about his family, Patrick cannot see clear and lacks support in his mixed feelings about the incidents on the film set.
Cassidy is first presented in a way you would expect a young superstar to behave. However, her personality turns out to differ heavily from the public egocentric diva image thus revealing one of the few critically thinking and actually caring people.
Even though the idea behind the plot is great and alluring, it was hard for me to really indulge in the novel. Yet, I liked Kleeman’s style of writing and will surely look out to read more of her.