Oil and Water by P.J. Lazos
What’s an environmental thriller? Climate change armageddon? Or maybe something along the lines of a serious version of Little Shop of Horrors?
P.J. Lazos’ Oil and Water, an environmental thriller, is about big oil. If you’re not a fan of big oil, this book will only give more fuel for the fire. Think arrogant guys smoking cigars with their feet on their desks pooh-poohing the latest ecological disaster their corporation is responsible for. There are oil spills and oil leaks, but that’s only the beginning of the environmental issues Oil and Water raises. Even Saddam Hussein makes a cameo in this story as an enemy of Mother Nature.
The novel begins with seemingly random death and destruction. Four hundred and some odd pages later it is all tied together. That’s the thriller element.
I was super impressed with the author’s knowledge of oil rigs, underwater operations, spills, cleanups and rescues. It enables her to describe scenes like the near-fatal underwater leak repair in the Gulf in detail that you would think could only be provided by the divers themselves. She even seems to nail the male banter between the divers and their above ground support.
I was even more impressed with her ability to build suspense in the way she relates this and other tales. Little thrillers within the larger story. It is one of the things that makes this long novel a quick and engaging read.
Much of the story takes place in a household run by and for teenagers, give or take a couple years on either end. (Their parents died in the aforementioned death and destruction.) That in itself makes for an interesting tale.
After reading Oil and Water, you can’t help but long for the day when we might be able to leave what’s left of our fossil fuels in the ground. If only there was a real family of teens and pre-teens who could build a machine to convert trash to fuel at scale.
There is a sea of self-published authors these days. Many are skilled writers and storytellers. I wish I read more of them, but it’s hard to find the good ones amidst the amateurish and the flamingly self-absorbed. This is one of the good ones.