Bombshell: A Novel
Soft Skull Press, July 2013; ISBN-13: 978-1593765132
Bombshell is a feminist nuclear thriller set twenty-five years after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, in which an alienated young Russian woman born in its shadow undertakes a road trip across the U.S., waging a guerrilla war against the nuclear industry and leaving in her wake a trail of destruction and assassinations. Obsessed with would-be Warhol assassin Valerie Solanas, Varyushka Cash recreates her atomic past through escalating violence and her one true goal: an assault on the Indian Point nuclear plant on the bank of the Hudson River. All along she is relentlessly pursued by the CIA, eager to capture Varyushka on charges of domestic terrorism. The cat-and-mouse chase leads to a final showdown in a decimated and irradiated New York, there on the cusp of a frightening new future.
The initial draft of Bombshell was completed five months before the Fukushima catastrophe, written from the author’s morbid suspicion that the twenty-fifth anniversary of catastrophe at Chernobyl, Pripyat, and beyond would be marked by an echo in the present, shadowed by the real threat present in our unguarded and deteriorating nuclear facilities. Bombshell is a combustible and commercial step forward by one of our most creative and intellectual writers today.
Praise for Bombshell:
“Reich’s novel is chock full of explosive ideas conveyed with radioactive prose. His heroine Varyushka Cash makes Lisbeth Salander look like a dimwitted Mary Poppins. This is dangerous fiction – handle with extreme caution.” —Isaac Adamson, Edgar Award Finalist, Complication
“Bombshell delivers on every artistic level: visionary story, beautiful language, and an unforgettable, emotionally resilient and iron tough heroine, in this indelibly smart, wild and electrifying powerhouse of a book.” – Emily Rapp, The Still Point Of The Turning World
“Bombshell is great stuff, and James Reich writes like a demon. He invokes figures as wonderfully diverse as Valerie Solanas and Nancy Reagan’s astrologer as icons in a supremely bizarre, darkly humorous universe. Varyushka Cash is a heroine for the ages.” – Mary Dearborn, Mailer: A Biography
“Reich is a formidable writer. He brings his characters and events to life with cinematic clarity. His eye for detail makes even the familiar seem alien. Above all he gives form to the terrifying invisible nuclear air that envelopes us all. Bombshell is a cautionary tale well told, offered up by a passionate and supremely gifted new author.” – Malcolm Mc Neill, Observed While Falling: Bill Burroughs, Ah Pook, and Me
“Like Cormac McCarthy wandering a William Burroughs wasteland while blasting a riot grrrl mixtape on a scavenged Walkman!” – S.A. Crary, Kill Your Idols, Director
“Defiant, toothsome, and flaming with color, the voice of James Reich is one of the most exciting to emerge in recent years; he is both something new and something wholly real. If it is possible for a true underground writer to exist anymore, he is that author. Bombshell is sublime.” – Stephen E. Andrews, author of 100 Must-Read Science Fiction Novels
“The feminist heroine is a fresh twist on the thriller genre.” —Kirkus