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Monday, August 4, 2014

Audio Book Review: Lightning Fall, A Novel of Disaster by Bill Quick

This is an intensely realistic view of the disasters that could occur after an EMP strike on the United States.
Author: Bill Quick
Narrator: Johnny Heller
Runtime: 18.2 Hours
Release date: 4.29.2014
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
ISBN-13: 978-1-4830-2036-5
Genre: Fiction/Science Fiction
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Publisher/Date: Blackstone Audio, 04/29/14
Three terrorist attacks are launched from freighters against the United States. Only one fully succeeds, but in the blink of an eye all of the country west of the Rocky Mountains is transformed into the technological equivalent of the eighteenth century—no electricity, no computers, no electronics of any kind, or any of the amenities of modern life that depend on them. This is the story of ordinary and extraordinary people, high and low, who struggle to survive in a mortally wounded nation, as America’s enemies within and without circle for the kill.
A Latino gangbanger becomes mayor of a devastated Los Angeles; a gay survivalist fights for his life in San Francisco; an ordinary Indiana housewife and her three children struggle to keep their lives together in a crashing economy; a shrimp fisherman in Louisiana watches a mushroom cloud rise over New Orleans; the admiral in charge of the military defense of the nation faces a storm of enemies from every corner of the compass; and the president of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives battle for supremacy as the lives of sixty million Americans hang in the balance.
Lightning Fall tells a story of terror, tragedy, and triumph that you will never forget.
© 2014 by Bill Quick

My first review draft was my normal style of setting forth the characters and the plot line. Then I summarized a little about the writing style and what I liked and didn’t like. Unfortunately the review exceeded 600 words before adding my Audio notes. This is a second attempt to review in a more simplified fashion.

The story deals with the disastrous consequences of terrorist attacks which include an EMP (electro magnetic pulse) strike over California and a plutonium bomb at New Orleans.   The story follows at least eight sets of characters to show the impact on people and families in different parts of the country. There are those directly impacted and others who are effected by the resulting societal breakdown and governmental decisions. The work is well researched and the author supplies extensive detail that presents very plausible scenarios of the troubles the country might face, including lack of electricity and food, desperation, vandalism, greed, foreign threats and internal political power struggles.

The author attempts to address many issues in one book which makes it lengthy, though still engaging. The primary characters include a gay couple in San Francisco where Tom has made extensive preparations for survival so that he can protect himself and his life partner, Raymond. This couple is portrayed in a favorable tone while another set of characters consisting of a female President and her husband who was a former President, are presented with scorn. The portrayal is of a power hungry woman who is more concerned with maintaining party supremacy than the welfare of the people.  She struggles to maintain control while sometimes accepting advise from her politically astute, conniving, ruthless and immoral husband.

Other characters are set in circumstances that reveal moral dilemmas people face in the collapse of social systems we are accustomed to.  A common question is ‘how far will people go to protect themselves and defend their property and territory’? When do you lend a hand and when do you bar the door?

This is a world where presumed friends may be enemies and people who would once have been considered enemies become allies.  The rough leaders are full of foul language which isn’t so pleasant but is (sadly) realistic.

The author probably covers more than needed in one book. Although he does a petty good job of  juggling all of the character lines, there are still many loose threads at the end. There is plenty in the book that could offend different readers.  Still I was engaged and entertained by this story and I recommend it to readers who enjoy good EMP strike stories.

Audio Notes:  Johnny Heller does a good job of narrating this story which is somewhat cumbersome by reason of the multiple characters and scenarios shifting back and forth. Heller's voice has a different sound with good energy that worked to keep this moving. The audiobook worked better for me than a print book as the length is not so daunting when I get to listen to the story.

I received this download from Blackstone Audio through Audiobook Jukebox.

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