In the late fall of 2013, a lethal pandemic virus emerges from the Islamic Republic of Indonesia (IRI) and rages unchecked across every continent. When the Jakarta Flu threatens his picture-perfect Maine neighborhood, Alex Fletcher, Iraq War veteran, is ready to do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. As a seasoned sales representative for Biosphere Pharmaceuticals, makers of a leading flu virus treatment, Alex understands what a deadly pandemic means for all of them. He particularly knows that strict isolation is the only guaranteed way to protect his family from the new disease.
With his family and home prepared for an extended period of seclusion, Alex has few real concerns about the growing pandemic. But as the deadliest pandemic in human history ravages northern New England, and starts to unravel the fabric of their Maine neighborhood, he starts to realize that the flu itself is the least of his problems.
A mounting scarcity of food and critical supplies turns most of the neighbors against him, and Alex is forced to confront their unexpected hostility before it goes too far. Just when he thinks it can't get any worse, the very face of human evil arrives on Durham Rd and threatens to destroy them all. Alex and his few remaining friends band together to protect the neighborhood from a threat far deadlier than the flu, as they edge closer to the inevitable confrontation that will test the limits of their humanity.
©2010 Steven Konkoly (P)2012 Sunny Day Audiobooks
I'm really glad I picked this one up. It was a great listen. I have to admit it started slow and it took me a while to appreciate the narrator's delivery, but once this story gets going, you can see that it's really a great book. And scary in terms of the feasibility of the story. I enjoy stories about survival and enjoy them even more when it's done without zombies. There are some great reminders in this book, common sense things to help you get prepared for the worst case scenario. The main character is a smart, stand up guy and I was sorry to hear this one come to an end. So much so, I'm going to give it another listen. Highly recommend! I won't give away any spoilers, I will just say some of the characters are very frightening. So if you enjoy this type of genre, you won't be sorry.
Sci-fi/Fantasy geek :)
I'm a little over half way done with this book, but I am going to go ahead and write this review, because at this point I've been mostly bored, so even if the book does pick up the pace, half of the book was still boring, thus earning 3 stars. I'll listen to the rest, because I'm this far in, and I find the premise of a pandemic highly interesting. So, I'm just hoping something will actually happen (and hopefully not all in the last chapter - pet peeve).
Some of the problem is the semi-bland narration. It's not offensive (like too many I've listened to), but makes the characters sound bored most of the time.
The writer talks far too much about details that don't matter. I don't really care which shoe a character puts on first. I like details about surroundings or characters that actually tell me something about what/who they are. But too many details in this book don't enlighten you in any way, they just fill pages and waste time.
Yes, some of these kinds of details are also in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but they told you something about the character and there were far fewer than in this book.
Are good editors so hard to find? Or is nobody listening to the editors? It just seems that too many books suffer from a lack of editing :(
I love me some audiobooks
From the reviews I read I thought this was going to be an intelligent EOTW survival novel centered on family facing the real threat of a pandemic. In my opinion it only made my blood pressure go up without offering much else.
The good: This book tackles the subject of a pandemic with a fair degree of accuracy. It portrays a virus that originates overseas and quickly spreads to all nations, including the USA. The book centers around one family that apparently expected such a scenario and stocked up appropriately. As the pandemic worsens so does the behavior of the neighbors that surround this family. The tensions between families and neighbors is realistic.
The bad: The main character, Alex, is described as a former marine who saw combat, but approaches situations in this book like a naive idiot at times. The author tells the reader/listener about the chaos and societal breakdown going on all around the main characters, yet they seem to sleep soundly and play games like they're living through a trivial snow storm and the roads are just temporarily closed. They seem to have every provision necessary to cope with this chaos and don't need to rely on anyone but themselves. The publisher must have forced the author to cut back on the "conservatives are idiots, and liberal progressives are smarter" banter, knowing that this would alienate most of the readers/listeners to this type of novel. However, this northeastern mentality still creeps out and is scattered throughout the story. Did it matter to the story that family hates Fox news, is PC in their conversation, does not mention faith and is disgusted at the thought of eating red meat? I'm no neo-con but It made me relate that much less to the main characters. I felt an undertone that the author is somewhat satisfied writing about the world's mass population dying off and leaving the "intellectuals" remaining.
This isn't a terrible book but I wouldn't listen to it again. I wasn't left thinking that I got anything substantially useful from having spent the time listening to it.
Constant jabs at Fox News. For instance, in a phone conversation the protagonist questions his brother's getting his information from Fox News. This is ridiculous because the brother in question was unquestioning in his acceptance of government assurances the the pandemic is not as bad as some people were saying. Furthermore, the NPR watching leftist protagonist is the prepper? Seems to me that the author has reversed the roles here. Yes we get it, the author has a political point of view, but give it a rest at some point.
I know this is nitpicking but it is the details that paint a picture.
Beyond this, the story could have been better fleshed out with more realistic (less stiff) dialogue and better imagery (similes and metaphors). It does not help that the narrator barely has a pulse.
This is a story that can one day actually happen. I never really realized all that can go on with a Pandemic. I really enjoyed Alex and Kate, they kept me laughing as the two interacted with each other. Kate reminds me of myself at times. But great story and had a hard time putting down my book.
First this is a good book, all politics aside it is a thrilling story to listen to. Second, it is an important book, the details and struggles, both physical and mental have a genuine ring of truth to them and the author has done a terrific job painting the picture of life in his community if a real pandemic breaks out. The narration is very good and feels like the right match for the tone of the story.
Some of the reviews bring up politics, there are a few mentions in this arena but they do not overwhelm the story and no matter what side of the aisle you are on it should not be a factor, and when I say a few, I mean a few and they are not overbearing. In addition some reviews thought the main character, Alex, did not meet opposition with enough force, I thought the author did good job of addressing that moral chasm, Alex has a nice home, wonderful family, and in general a lot to loose, the bad actors have nothing to loose and are very comfortable with violence, the problem for the good member of society is it is always difficult to cross that line and get dragged into world where the possibility of loosing everything is real. This dilemma was well portrayed and even though you wish for action sooner, if you really put yourself in the shoes of the main character, a responsible person, it becomes easy to be empathetic with him. The dynamics of the neighborhood were extremely well developed, pitting the prepared against the frivolous and unprepared. I enjoyed the community meeting convened and the action plan proposed, which included "resource sharing". The personal struggles within the prepared community as they shared what they could while balancing the needs for their own families against an event of unknown duration was well argued.
I would highly recommend this story, it is a good story on its own and a good mental exercise, written with care and a well studied perspective, one which may be of great value for you and your family.
If you always have a book with you...
A realistic approach to what might happen in a pandemic event. Although not a gripping story, it kept you captivated because of how believable the situations were.
The author takes what could otherwise have been a great plot and destroys it with awkwardly applied liberal talking points. It's like the author tried to hide his views, but couldn't help himself when it came to certain topics. Some highlights of liberal idiocy include:
The protagonist is ex-military, so of course he has PTSD and his wife is worried he may go crazy on them.
The only other guy in the neighborhood who is reasonably prepared for a long term food shortage and has firearms is a "rabid Republican" and owns "entirely too many guns". (Which is odd, considering the protagonist has plenty).
The protagonist, who is a combat-veteran Marine, is afraid to carry a loaded shotgun, preferring to "load it if he must". Uh-huh---sure--cause there is always plenty of time to stop and load a pump action shotgun in face-to-face altercations.
The protagonist (did I mention he is supposedly a combat-veteran?) calls his AR-15 an "assault rifle".
Fox News is trashed as unreliable, but NBC has cutting edge information that undermines the official federal position on the pandemic.
The protagonist refuses to share his own food and supplies (reasonable under the circumstances) and is generally against any 'share the wealth' programs early on, but has no problem sanctioning squatters' liberation of his neighbor's homes. (Don't take my stuff, take theirs!)
The end result is a very frustratingly unbelievable story. I don't mind listening to a survival story written by liberal or anti-gun author, heck, Stephen King writes quite a few good ones. But this author does a poor job of separating his thoughts from the thoughts of his characters.
Second complaint is the useless minutia of description. We have to suffer through the exact color and type of clothes the character dons, along with the clothes he failed to choose, multiple times for no apparent reason. Also, a long dissertation on how the neighborhood has a high rate of anorexia early on in the book is a precursor to us discovering... nothing. Its like the author had a minimum word count he had to fulfill and decided to do it by adding trivial nonsense.
Lastly, the narrator was mind-numbing. I've listened to 4th graders with better reading skills. It sounds like he is reading the phone book. It is terribly annoying when you cannot tell whether a narrator is reading dialogue. This guy's voice remains completely unchanged from dialogue to non-dialogue, making it hard to figure out when the character stopped talking.
I could not put this story down. It was well-written, with many insights and details, and the narration was very strong, especially the narrator's lowered voice rendering of the protagonist's private thoughts.
The protagonist in this story, Alex, takes his family through the harrowing experience of surviving a pandemic. Alex is more level-headed, observant and wise than everyone else except his loving CPA wife, and certainly more than the neighborhood neanderthals, those who came after the pandemic and those who were already there. The problem is that Alex is ahead of everyone else simply because in his role as a sales agent for a money-hungry pharmaceutical, he is more attuned to the need to prepare for the pandemic. His family is provisioned for over a year with food and supplies and guns locked up in the basement. In that sense, we get to see Alex as he is without facing the survival struggles of the hooligans around him. But the hooligans are reduced in their humanity simply because - they don't have what Alex has. It is a cheap contrast. We sympathize with Alex and can't stand the hooligans, but the truth is that the hooligans could be just as sympathetic as Alex if their families were protected from the pandemic and had plenty to eat, and Alex could be just as contemptible if he was not. It's not so much that the writer wants us to want the good guys to win, but that we want the "people who had more advance warning and chance to prepare" to win. But it is easy to confuse the two in this book.
The book was filled with political statements. Alex goes around in his camouflage outfits and peppers his thoughts with his war recollections, has an impressive knowledge of guns, and an impressive collection of guns. But it turns out that all but one are unregistered. He also, even preceding the pandemic, has built an impressive survivalist complex in his basement, replete with different drug samples he has squirreled away illegally in order to keep his family as healthy as possible. Against this backdrop, the story reminds us that Alex can drop tired canards on conservatives, republicans, and Fox news with the best of the polarized left.
The above are not necessarily complaints, just "mild crititiques".
This was not the formulaic survival story some reviewers claim. It is a great read/listen, a truly engrossing story.
NO! The author gives WAY to much detail on things not needed. It gets so annoying I wanted to scream at the author. For example, you have to hear the reader describe the pattern of underwear someone is wearing and there isn't even a need to let us know the character IS wearing underwear at that time to picture the scene. The story is too descriptive and goes into detail about the relationships of the 10 main characters in the story. It doesn't go into a lot of detail at all about the epidemic outside this small community or about the flu strain and it's symptoms. It became very boring and I was stuck listening to it just to kill time.
Him trying to do a female voice is quite annoying, almost unbearable to listen to. He gives too many long pauses and his style is the same in every book he narrates, that I can't enjoy any book he reads now.
too many to give-but the main one is the scene where the neighbors family is found dead, killed by the neighborhood infiltrators. At least take the part out about the small children being found killed. The characters lack so much emotion that you can't just all of the sudden throw the worst thing in the world at the reader near the end of the book, babies murdered, when there has been no dramatic scenes or emotions in the first 3/4s of the book!
I will also tell you that the relationship between the husband and wife is weird. You go into so much detail about everything, but I am still unable to understand their relationship. They don't act very loving except for some weird, lets get busy in the bed, scenes. They seem cold and annoyed with each other the whole time except when the author tries to make them love each other.
If you like books that are more descriptive than eventful and intriguing to listen to, then this is your book. If you get annoyed easily at nonsensical crap, then stay away!
I found this a breath of fresh air, not the usual gun obsessed stuff with Zombies or Vampires running around everywhere.
This book focuses on one families attempt to survive a Spanish flu type outbreak similar to that of 1919. Most of the story examines human nature and paints an all too realistic picture of what could happen when medical and infrastructure resources get over stretched.
If the narrator had been better I would have given it 5 stars but he did a reasonable job.
Enjoyed it, not a classic but good none the less. Would recommend to anybody with an interest in the area.
"Excellent & different!"
I thought this was a fantastic listen - the way the tension builds between the characters involved is incredibly well executed and gripping with a real sense of dread building as the story progresses - had my heart in my throat on more than one occasion. Although not in the same genre I think this would appeal to anyone who enjoys Apocalyptic 'type' writing.
"Fast moving and thought provoking"
Highly readable and nail biting at times - a deadly influenza pandemic unfolds as seen through the eyes of a former serviceman, now working as a sales rep for a drug company manufacturing antivirals. Although the virology can be faulted and the book is clearly fictional the author delights in detailed, precise scenarios. You understand how ordinary American suburban families could be impacted by growing lawlessness.
"Slow start but good story once going."
This story took a bit of time to get into not helped by the relatively dull monotone if the narrator. If you can get through the first few chapters you'll be hooked with a nervous excitement you'd usually find with a horror story. The story depicts how easily society could break down and I bet by the time you have finished the book you'll have certainly found yourself planning how you'd handle such a disaster & improve your home security.
"The Dialogue is the Apocalypse"
The dialogue was trite and wooden, as was the narrator's delivery of it. I did not believe any of the characters and especially found their responses to extreme situations unrealistic.
The only redeeming feature was that I wanted to find out how it ended in broad terms. I was much more interested in the body count than the welfare of Alex Fletcher and his family.
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