If Carl Hiaasen had a long lost brother in Louisiana it would be debut writer Tom Cooper – author of the blissful novel The Marauders. It’s all about the BP oil spill and the effect it has on a cast of memorable characters that would make most novelists weep with envy.
Cooper’s writing makes you feel, smell and touch what it must have been like to be stuck in Katrina and then have to deal with the BP oil spill. He doesn’t point the finger solely on BP. He also holds the fisherman up to the spotlight of overfishing and not talking care of the environment that has been feeding them for many years. The collision of two certainly separates the men from the boys.
There is not an dud character in the over 300 pages of this novel. Amongst the cast we have one-armed Lindquist a shrimper and a part time treasure hunter who waiting to find his treasure full of gold and prove to his wife and daughter that they should have had faith in him. We also have the Toup brothers, a despicable pair who have their own private island of marijuana and will do whatever it takes to protect it including murder. Brady Grimes is the BP local shill who is trying to get the town’s folk to sign off on a settlement that is only good for BP. He is wracked with guilt because he knows that he is literally screwing everybody who signs it. We also get to meet the dynamic loser duo Cosgrove and Hanson, two ex-cons who think they can just go and steal whatever they want from whomever they want.
The final pair we get to meet are Wes Trench and his father. There is a father/son love/hate relationship between them. Wes’ mother drowned in hurricane Katrina because his father said they should remain at home when everyone else was evacuating. The character of Wes is the one who has the most important responsibility in the novel because he is the character that finally builds the boat he said he was going to do and he must decide whether he is going to remain a fisherman like his father or set sail on another path in life and find out who he really is.
When you mix up all these characters you truly get a delicious southern gumbo tale of fisherman, oil executives and small town folk that will keep you turning the pages and wishing it would never end. I for one am hoping for a sequel because there is plenty more life left in these characters, well most of them anyway.
No matter what happens the journey of reading The Marauders is one you are certainly going to want to buy a ticket for. I hear the shrimp cocktail is amazing!