THE RAFT - Alan Mills
THE RAFT was originally published in 2005 before the author's recent CITY OF ANIMALS.
Lydia and Martin Napier have gone through personal tragedy, their once perfect lives have been turned upside down and they are now struggling with the news that Martin has just lost his long term job writing and drawing an ongoing comic strip.
Lydia's boss offers them the use of his property in Far North Queensland as a chance to get away and decide what they will do. The arrive, with their small daughter Ami, in Cairns at the same time as a cyclone rolls in, cutting off the farm and surrounding areas with massive flooding and torrential rain.
Whilst trying to escape the remote property, they end up stranded back there with a policeman, his prisoner and a truck driver who have also been caught in the rising flood waters.
The book intersperses chapters of the "action" with time that Martin spends in hospital recovering from injuries sustained in the ordeal. During this time he is remembering and taking local police through the events, and there is a gradual unfurling of all that happened in that cut off farm house.
There is something of the film script about this book - it's written in a very big and bold style - there is lots of action and drama and the pre-requisite number of evil and threatening baddies lurking throughout the entire book.
This is probably a book for fans of the big bold blockbuster style of rolling action, but beware - cliches and stereotypes are pretty thick on the ground.
It should have been a simple holiday in far North Queensland. A chance for Martin and Lydia Napier to repair their faltering marriage. A time-out with their young daughter Ami from a pressured city life. It should have been...
But the brutal power of nature means a drastic change of plans for the Napier family when they're forced to flee rising floodwaters. Within hours the family find themselves marooned with a small group of surviviors on the roof of an isolated farmhouse, with dwindling hopes of rescue and a killer in their midst...