Dead Water Zone
Plenty of action, a pinch of romance and such up-to-date topics as pollution and computer-hacking speed along this futuristic thriller. In search of his runaway younger brother, athletic Paul leaves his tidy suburban home to plunge into the murky slum called Watertown. Various events lead Paul to believe that his missing brother is caught in something very strange indeed, something that has to do with the potent waters surrounding the shantytown. Watertown proves a magnificently eerie setting--so much so that it tends to upstage the novel's plot and its characters, both of which seem rather thin and unoriginal in comparison. Although it does not offer readers challenges on a level with those found in, say, Peter Dickinson's Eva , this fast-paced adventure contains plenty to enjoy. Ages 12-up. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. A well-realized world of rotting docks and ramshackle buildings on the shore of a polluted lake forms the setting for this haunting character study. Summoned by his brilliant but frail brother Sam, Paul leaves his comfortable suburban neighborhood for unsavory Watertown--and finds that both he and his brother are being hunted by the quasi-legal Cityweb: Sam has discovered a mutated microorganism in the lake that, though eventually toxic, greatly enhances physical ability. But despite plenty of danger, narrow scrapes, and a lurid, violent climax, outward events seem almost incidental compared to Paul's inner struggles. Once complacent in his role as protective older brother, he's angry to see Sam growing up and away from him and racked by guilt to feel so; his turmoil increases when he meets a new Sam--preternaturally fast and strong, exultantly freed from his former metabolic disorder. Oppel explores the brothers' dependent love-hate relationship with some sensitivity, though the confessional tone gets heavy at times. Glamorous but deadly, the microorganism is like a drug, so the story can be read on that level, too; indeed, Oppel adds a subplot involving a streetwise young Watertowner searching for her lake water-addicted mother. A thoughtful story with an unusual combination of ingredients. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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