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The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi
The American Southwest has been decimated by drought. Nevada and Arizona skirmish over dwindling shares of the Colorado River, while California watches, deciding if it should just take the whole river all for itself. Into the fray steps Las Vegaswater knife, Angel Velasquez. Detective, assassin, and spy, Angel "cuts" water for the Southern Nevada Water Authority and its boss, Catherine Case. When rumors of a game-changing water source surface in Phoenix, Angel is sent to investigate. There, Angel encounters Lucy Monroe, a hardened journalist, who knows far more about Phoenix's water secrets than she admits, and Maria Villarosa, a young Texas migrant, who dreams of escaping north to those places where water still falls from the sky. With Phoenix teetering on the verge of collapse and time running out for Angel, Lucy, and Maria, their only hope for survival rests in one another's hands. Read a sample.