Rattled, by Debra Galant, is a unique take on the concept of what happens when one combines suburban sprawl with community and environmental concerns.
Among the many praises of this novel from other writers was a comparison of this author to Carl Hiassen. Since I like Hiassen, I figured this book would be a novel worth my time and effort expended on a review.
To give credit where credit is due, Galant does a nice job when it comes to characters. Heather Peters, the protagonist, is written so vividly that one has an immediate picture of her from the first word composed. Some readers may well recognize themselves or friends and neighbors.
When Heather gets hysterical after spotting a timber rattlesnake on the porch of her New Jersey “McMansion,” the snake is sent to its early reward in heaven. One problem: it was an endangered species, and illegal to kill in the Garden State. Oops! The ensuing mess is the focus of Galant’s work.
In a touch of irony, Heather is married to Kevin Peters, a lawyer who is rising up the partnership ladder at his firm. To see this attorney have to deal with a legal crisis at home gives this book depth and a healthy dose of reality.
As the novel progresses, readers will see that Heather Peters is much more dimensional than the brittle self-serving woman she appears to be at first. When she puts her mind to it, she can find the strength to take on any challenge.
To add to the story, a developer is after the land in order to build as many new homes as he can. This single minded focus drives him to the point of no return, and he is not about to let a tiny little detail such as an ethics violation stop him from achieving his goals.
The end result has everyone involved being held accountable for their actions. The Peters family finds a new bond, and the developer whose work ethic runs to the shady side…well, you’ll just have to buy the book to find out what happens to him.