by Jeff Hirsch – This was a far better book than I expected, which may sound like a weird critique, until you know that it’s been sitting unread on my Kindle for a couple of years and that I think I got it as a free book somewhere. Anyway, I’d expected it to be a zombie story, but it isn’t. Instead, the story is about Stephen, a teenaged boy in the near future (20-ish years from now) who is trying to survive and find his place in a world that’s been torn apart by global and biological warfare. The U.S. government has long since fallen, brutality is expected, and civility is suspect.
The writing is strong, the characters are nuanced and believable, and the action is nicely paced. I found myself caring about Stephen and for the little community that took him and his grievously wounded father in and tended to them. Maybe I was really rooting for the success of empathy and real humanity in the struggle to survive and even thrive, despite the hard realities of life in a post-apocalyptic world. After all, if mankind can do it then and there, perhaps it can do it here and now, too. (finished 8/19/14)