A fast-paced, dystopian tale of a near-future nuclear disaster told from a Christian viewpoint.


A nuclear strike over America effectively throws much of the Northern Hemisphere back to the Stone Age in O’Donnell’s apocalyptic thriller.

On May 24, 2022, three nuclear warheads detonate in the thermosphere above the United States. Sent by Iran—and facilitated by North Korea—the super electromagnetic pulse immediately wreaks havoc. Satellites become disabled, airplanes fall from the sky, cars stop working, and cellphones become useless. In Centennial, a suburb of Denver, the family of Bill Jenkins—a statistician with the Department of Agriculture who’s working out of Washington, D.C.—is already preparing for the worst. Jenkins, a “prepper of sorts,” has an underground bunker filled with a year’s worth of food and water for his wife, Viv, and their two sons, Brian and Mark. As the world devolves into chaos, the Jenkinses share their supplies with their surviving neighbors, Julie Price and her kids, Jack, Rocky, and Kate. But when people start dying of starvation, the group faces nomadic cannibals hunting for human prey. As life becomes a hellscape, Jenkins—living in an elaborate subterranean government bunker while working to get the country back on its feet—learns of a top-secret underground railroad system that connects cities all over the continent, one of which is Denver. Jenkins eventually gets the green light to find his family and return with them to Washington—but what he discovers in Colorado is beyond his darkest nightmares. This relentlessly paced, action-packed, and character-driven novel from the author of Meth War (2021) may strike some readers as a fusion of William R. Forstchen’s One Second After and Stephen King’s The Stand with a powerful Christian perspective. The story can get heavy-handed, however, when it comes to religion. Criminals, for example, are “men and women living their lives without God,” some of whom may “embrace Satan.” But any proselytizing fits seamlessly into the narrative as the Jenkinses and Prices find strength and wisdom in their faith-based lives to move forward in their quest to survive.

A fast-paced, dystopian tale of a near-future nuclear disaster told from a Christian viewpoint.

Pub Date: July 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66553-304-1

Page Count: 278

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.


An old-fashioned gumshoe yarn about Hollywood dreams and dead bodies.

Private investigator Aloysius Archer celebrates New Year’s Eve 1952 in LA with his gorgeous lady friend and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb shows up and offers to hire him because “someone might be trying to kill me.” “I’m fifty a day plus expenses,” he replies, but money’s no obstacle. Later, he sneaks into Lamb’s house and stumbles upon a body, then gets knocked out by an unseen assailant. Archer takes plenty of physical abuse in the story, but at least he doesn’t get a bullet between the eyes like the guy he trips over. A 30-year-old World War II combat veteran, Archer is a righteous and brave hero. Luck and grit keep him alive in both Vegas and the City of Angels, which is rife with gangsters and crooked cops. Not rich at all, his one luxury is the blood-red 1939 Delahaye he likes to drive with the top down. He’d bought it with his gambling winnings in Reno, and only a bullet hole in the windscreen post mars its perfection. Liberty loves Archer, but will she put up with the daily danger of losing him? Why doesn’t he get a safe job, maybe playing one of LA’s finest on the hit TV show Dragnet? Instead, he’s a tough and principled idealist who wants to make the world a better place. Either that or he’s simply a “pavement-pounding PI on a slow dance to maybe nowhere.” And if some goon doesn’t do him in sooner, his Lucky Strikes will probably do him in later. Baldacci paints a vivid picture of the not-so-distant era when everybody smoked, Joe McCarthy hunted commies, and Marilyn Monroe stirred men’s loins. The 1950s weren’t the fabled good old days, but they’re fodder for gritty crime stories of high ideals and lowlifes, of longing and disappointment, and all the trouble a PI can handle.

Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1977-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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