My wife belongs to a book club. One of the recent books was this one by the famed cartoonist Cathy Guisewite of Kathy fame. I’d read a number of action novels recently and thought a humorous book would be a good change of pace.
“None of this has gone as planned. I became a full-time mom at the very moment my daughter decided to reject all input from anyone over age thirty. I became a full-time daughter the moment my parents announced they would barricade the front door if I tried to bring in anyone or anything to assist them. I got older, which I hadn’t factored in, and became even more obnoxious and belligerent than my child or my parents, incapable of even committing to exercising five minutes a day.”
“Yesterday should have been the worst day of her life. She had buried her father, her last relative on earth. She had been attacked by men with guns. People she knew were in therapy for much less. She should be prostrate with misery and shock. But she wasn’t. Yesterday had been the best day of her life. He had appeared like a vision on the steps, behind the garage, above the yard. The noon sun directly over his head, illuminating him. Her heart had thumped and the old feelings had swarmed back into the center of her life, fiercer and stronger than ever, like a drug howling through her veins, like claps of thunder.”
“Mahegan internalized this information. This was the only device that could have guided an electronic trigger signal past the jammers in Colgate’s vehicle. And it had come from the U.S. of A. The raging storm that had been building inside him for two months, ever since he had lost his first soldier in combat, finally unleashed. Mahegan howled with a primal ferocity that roared through the distant canyons, the valleys echoing with his anguish. Then he turned toward the Copperhead, Inc. private military contractors and stared at them, wondering why they were on the mission at all.”
In the waning days of World War II, the Nazis are defeated, but not formally surrendered. The story is about perhaps their most masterful sniper. Masterful in that he has killed hundreds if not thousand of soldiers and civilians. He’s the type who relishes killing and has no compunction with killing hundreds of prisoners after they’ve just dug their own grave. The Nazis have a plot; a last ditch effort to give one last, huge blow to the Jewish people. The Master Sniper leaves on a solo mission and only one dogged, American investigator suspects something sinister is going to happen.
“Simon’s eyes stayed locked on the panhandling girl mangling John Lennon’s legacy. Her hair was matted clumps. Her cheekbones were sunken. The girl was rail-thin, raggedy, dirty, damaged, homeless, lost. She was also Simon’s daughter Paige.”
Harlan Coben is one prolific writer. In Run Away we meet a family full of heart ache. A family with a daughter, while not dead, is a much as dead with her addiction and abusive boyfriend. We see this family face the question about how far would you go to save your child…would you commit murder?
The subtitle of this book; “The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die” while functionally true, is a bit of an extreme statement. When their is a pandemic or other world ending event where most of us will die, our government has a COG (Continuity of Government). That should make you feel less than good as those who are planned to survive are our country’s “best and brightest”…you know, the politicians.
Jason has a pretty good life; a loving wife, a son, a decent job. He’s not burning up the world, the marriage has cooled off a wee bit as routine has wiggled in. He’s happy though…until he wakes up as if in a dream where everything is turned upside down.
“Standing happy and slightly drunk in my kitchen, I’m unaware that tonight is the end of all of this. The end of everything I know, everything I love.”
Based on his last memory he should probably be dead, but he is not…he is not sure of anything at this point.
If you’ve ever read survival books like The Tattooist of Auschwitz, you’ll often see how fleeting life is and how one different twist would have lead to the death of Ludwig Sokolov (Lale) and then no story. That’s not a plot spoiler as the book is about his ordeal in Nazi concentration camps. You should know that the Nazis were very efficient in their killing to the point that each prisoner was tattooed with a unique number. Ludwig found himself as the tattooist at Auschwitz, a position that came with some perks. He tattooed numbers on thousands of fellow Jews and other unwanted before they were killed.
“Like his idols Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun, he would sweep across the land like a plague, destroying everything in his way. The thought made him grin. Finally, he was fulfilling his destiny, preparing for the final battle that would decide who ruled the world – a battle he would not lose.”
In his third Day After Never novel, Russell Blake brings to a climax as evil brings its army to destroy. Magnus personally leads his evil warriors in an attempt to destroy resistance. Which is more important, a well defended position or overwhelming force, weaponry and manpower. This is a classic good versus evil story and you’ll have to read to see who triumphs. Even winning doesn’t resolve everything in these novels.
Purgatory Road is the second in the The Day After Never series by author Russell Blake. In it, our hero Lucas again faces overwhelming odds to save those closest to him while staying one step ahead of some very nasty people. In this dystopian novel, the world population has been devastated by a global pandemic. More than half the population have succumbed and a great many of those left have sunk to brutal levels to survive…generally at the expense of others. Lucas finds himself pushed to help the two who he saved find their promised land before they themselves were found.