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
The story beats you over the head with survivalist tactics and a phony-sounding family dynamic. However, the whole time I listened to this, I kept wishing for more realistic scientific background on the virus. The main character is not particularly heroic or special. He doesn't have much/any special knowledge that could have made the story more compelling.
The most intriguing aspect of the story was the the tension of the neighborhood and local political dynamics between families.
Not unless the screen adaptation took it in a different direction.
I guess there wouldn't be much to read if the protagonist actually followed quarantine and didn't interject himself into the neighborhood politics. That said, I'm still disappointed and had to stop listening about half-way through. To go through all the effort to prepare and then blow off basic quarantine to attend neighborhood meetings and try to become a high-profile member just doesn't make sense from the prot.'s perspective. That in addition to the tedium that inevitably resulted from the fine-grained detail given regarding the neighborhood social scene and I was done.
Joseph Morton did an excellent job with the different characters, the story line was believable and held my interest throughout the entire book.
The gun fight
The planning and preparation.
Learned some great survival tips.
It was interesting to see a little subculture and how it might react in a situation like this (plague/flu) - a neighborhood/community. I thought it interesting that there was so much resentment toward the people who planned ahead and had enough - and that they obviously snickered about their solar panels etc. etc. long before they all wanted them to share their food with them. I like Alex -- even though he was a marine, he wasn't nearly as aggressive as my own husband would've been in this situation -- he was way more controlled than I thought realistic - though maybe that was the PTSD counseling kicking in...
My worst complaint was the wife, and I vocalized this while on my commute several times. Get off your butt and do something for goodness' sake. I can understand shielding your children as much as possible, but this wife just seemed way too clueless for the most part. Ah well -- it ended better.
I'd definitely recommend this book if you like disaster/post-apocalyptic stories.
The narrator !!!!! This man makes me not want to buy any more audio books, and when he changes his voice to imitate a females voice my ears bleed. Also, the main character is a former marine, a prepper, yet gets all his news from cnn and NPR. Really ? The interaction between the main character and his wife is horrible, and she may be the most annoying character ever, ever, ever, ugh.
Probably not, even though I love this genre
Anyone. I really mean it. Anyone else. It couldn't be worse
This book could have been great, but it just drags on, and on, and really an ex marine prepper who has his family threatened multiple times in an end of world situation, and does nothing. In reality he would have shot the guy the first time. Problem solved.
I am about 4 hours into the first part of this book, and I am very close to completely giving up on it. The subject matter is interesting although I don't care for the way it is written. The main character, Alex, is written in such a way that he is incredibly arrogant, annoying, completely unlikeable and unrelateable. I'm rooting for the flu to take him out!
Then, the narration is horrible. Definitely the worst I've heard on any audiobook. Joseph Morton narrates the thing like a grumpy old man, which almost works since Alex is THE WORST, but since half the book is written in the form of Alex's internal thoughts, Morton legitimately mumbles those lines in such a way that is barely audible. Literally, I cannot understand half the narration of this book because I cannot make out what is being said.
Like I mentioned before, the subject matter is interesting, so I am sticking with this one. If it takes a turn for the better I'll come back and update my review. But it's looking pretty grim right now.....
The story is direct and on-the-nose. The protagonist jumps to a bunch of conclusions which always turn out to be right. And the relationships are paper-thin and based on quips and jibes. Despite these complaints, the story works because the topic is compelling. But I think this could be stronger if the characters were more human and fallible.
No one scene stands out. Just the overall sense of foreboding.
I was turned off by the lame binary of poor refugees = violent and dangerous, rich refugees = good people. It almost read like a fever dream of a New Orleans suburbanite after Hurricane Katrina. Oh noes -- here comes the poors, man the barricades!
Also, the characters were two-dimensional. The main guy (a generic name I don't recall a day after finishing audiobook), basically quips his way through life with his (harpy) wife and (conveniently absent) kids.
And it was very convenient the guy was a plague prepper -- he basically planned for the exact situation that unfolded. Though I guess there are such people in the world.
There is also a queer attention to needless detail. We get details about appliances, furniture, meals, etc. At times, it almost seemed like parody.
Three-quarters of the way through the book, I thought it might be an unreliable narrator, who was killing innocent people because he was tied to his own warped preconceptions. But that was not the case. There are no twists in this story -- it lays out a premise, and it unfolds exactly as advertised.
This all sounds negative, but I will say I enjoyed the yarn. It appeals to the worries that keep you up at night. The idea that society can unravel, without the leap of faith required for zombie or supernatural apocalypse tales.
A good story, so long as you keep your expectations in check.
The explanation and detail the author goes into with his preparation and the narration
Hard question. The stand (unabridged) comes to mind as Stephen King writes with the same detail.
The husband an his foresight influenced by his occupation.
I think the ending (read it as I wont give it away)
The fact the family wasn't a group of gun nuts and had a well thought out (in my opinion) range of self defence firearms.
Alex, the protagonist, is an incredibly annoying know-it-all who tells people (rather than suggests) what actions they should take as if they were small children.
The "evil" to be battled in this story is hardly explained or examined, other than the most basic knowledge of how to treat it and whatnot. With a little research, the author could have made the illness a far more menacing presence.
The characters in the book simply accept that a dangerous pandemic is on the march, which we've seen from past disasters would not be the case with real human beings.
There would be many who dismissed warnings as scare tactics on the part of "Big Pharma" to sell them medicine, others who would drum up and believe their own conspiracies about the government, etc. People would still be denying there was a problem even as those around them became ill, just as they do when a hurricane has just begun the process of drowning their city and they still refuse to leave their homes.
We've not only seen these people; research using fMRI demonstrates that there are human beings who are neurologically hard-wired in a way that leaves them unable to accept what is right in front of their faces, in a way that causes them to deny reality no matter how much evidence is presented to them, and causes them to cling to beliefs any rational person would recognize as inaccurate.
The kids in the story don't go nuts and misbehave as any normal children would, even those who are usually very well behaved, while spending so much time constricted in their activities.
That the characters were so unrealistic after reading the glowing reviews was, unfortunately, the only thing about this book that wasn't predictable. Everything else was.
If you're looking for a macho fantasy about how you would save your family during a crisis and be a hero in your little neighborhood (at least in your own mind -- if you were as patronizing as Alex, nobody would want to hang out with you), you'll probably like this book.
If you're looking for a smart book in which the author doesn't ostensibly assume the reader is mentally deficient, provides a realistic idea of what it would be like to live through a crisis, you want to know the science and the details, etc. you'll want to skip this.
It's not the very worst book I've read (hence the two star rating), but it's not good either.
Find an adventure...every day!
My time was mostly well spent because the concept of the story is timely, engaging and quite frightening as a peek into what may be our immediate future when a major crisis of any kind occurs. At times, however, the book reads like a copy of a survival manual and how to organize your food storage for a year in the basement. This caused the story to lose momentum and interest. The ideas kept me going long enough to wade through the pedantic material to see what happens next in the neighborhood.
Once people began fleeing from the cities and attempting to immigrate into suburban neighborhoods to forage, steal and kill, this finally became an action novel. Those scenarios were highly believable and thus, compelling. The central characters grew on me-- eventually. The pace of the story just keeps getting mired in mundane descriptions...we get "it" right away and then yawn through language that seems from a tech. manual.
The narrator was better than many...like the book, the narrator seems to warm to the story after he finishes reading the survival manual lists, recipes, rotating your supplies, locking up your supplies....truly dull and overdone...fast forward unless you are planning to stock your bunker, in which case those sections will be of interest in building your shopping list before the stores go under.
Too draggy to be a good movie. The script writer would really have to clip this down and refocus on giving the audience a feeling of nervous immediacy AND urgency, coupled with a "this could happen to you." It definitely could happen...but the book does not create urgency. It could be a very good movie if the pacing was cleaned up, fast, unpredictable and the story both moved along and moved the audience (capable of doing that, needs re-write). Matt Damon, of course.
This is a good effort...the story is plausible, which kept me going. The story is thoughtful as to how rapidly we become tribal and territorial in crisis. It is truthful that in crisis of this nature people do become caught between the moral imperatives of the civilized and the biological imperative that we are charged with keeping our own family alive at all costs...all bets are off then, in this collision of values. The story is timely...I would give this author another attempt if he could tighten up the pacing. The last 1/3 of the book really moved me along and I cared what was happening.
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