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by S.C. Shannon

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-63867-004-9
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co.

A debut novel offers a fusion of apocalyptic fiction, SF, and horror that chronicles a family’s struggle to survive after civilization collapses.

In near-future Southern California, 20-year-old Grace Baker’s life is turned upside down when terrorists destroy the national power grid, effectively throwing the country into chaos. Her father, a former military man who used to have top-secret clearance, succeeds in getting his family (which includes Grace, her mother, and her older brother) out of Los Angeles before the city is bombed to rubble by an unknown adversary. Dodging roving bands of criminals and collecting valuable goods along the way, the Bakers make it north to a secluded cabin they own hidden in a remote forest. But their chances of survival are greatly reduced when they realize that the post-apocalyptic world is now inhabited by invisible monsters that are hunting humans like prey. One by one, Grace’s family members are killed until she is left alone to fend for herself. While on a scavenging mission in a nearby town, she fatefully meets Nick Gates, a young cafe worker (and potential love interest) she knew from “Before.” Together they decide that they need to figure out a way to kill the monsters, even if it means dying in the process. While the story’s apocalyptic setting brings nothing new to the table and the invisible-monster thread has more than a few plot holes, Shannon delivers the goods by creating characters that are identifiable and emotionally compelling. Grace, for example, is a book nerd and analytical problem solver who turns out to be an ultimate badass at world’s end. Her bond with Nick is tumultuous and complicated but also undeniably authentic—and the evolution of that relationship throughout the horrors they face is an unarguable strength of this utterly readable tale.

While not exactly innovative, a highly entertaining, speculative glimpse of the end of the world.