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.
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.
I am an artist, living in Cairns, Queensland, Australia right next to the Great Barrier Reef. I listen to audiobooks everyday while making art and on into the night. I really like mysteries with a good serving of suspense on the side that keep you wondering right to the end. However, I won't say no to any entertaining and well written book which has been read by an excellent narrator.
This book succeeded because it kept the story local - in our own neighbourhoods - and thus we could all relate to it. Alex and his family were supposed to look pretty average and normal too, but Alex - surprise, surprise - has a background just perfect for this story to ride on, with his experiences in the military in the middle east and his sales job with bio-technical company that manufactures flu drugs. Getting past the contrived characterisations, the book reads well and builds in suspense as Alex' own fears about the future grow and what the family must do to survive the perils the confront them. I enjoyed the book very much because what confronted them was quite believable without the author having to resort to unbelievable horror, zombies or such. Recommended reading, especially for those who love apocalyptic and post-apocolyptic fiction.
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.
This was an excellent read. This was more about what happens to the guy next door then the world as a whole. A very localized and realistic story for my tastes without the added gore that is replete of most of the genera. I am awaiting the next one from Steven Konkoly.
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.
A story that grabs you...rolls along, keeps you interested, with a very sharp ( actually, extremely sharp ) performance by Joseph Morton. ( He is starting to be one of my favorite performers of late ).
Only drawback is the conclusion, which I thought was rather abrupt and didn't quite fit with the rest of the presentation. It was almost as if the author ran out of material or something.
This should be listened to for the characters and the presentatin, not the conclusion. Well worth it for the former however. Enjoy it like i did.
If you are looking for a faster moving story, don't look here. In the interest of full disclosure, I enjoy books that keep the story moving and do not become bogged down in endless detail. So, with that in mind, if you enjoy minute detail of every aspect of the story then you will like this book.
The plot was a good idea and it could have been a riveting story. However, it could also have been 8-10 hours long rather than 16. I enjoyed the last two hours of the book, but in the other 14 hours the author spent far too much time on details that added little or nothing to the story line. I understand the need for color and background. Yet, the author went well beyond background and color. I found myself saying "Just move on will you please." As I said, the last two hours were good and I found myself drawn into the story. But, it takes far too long to get to the last 2 hours. In addition, I was turned off by the fact that the author felt the need to include his apparent dislike of conservatives and Fox News. I could not care less about his political views. However, I have an Audible account and listen to fictionalized novels to enjoy a little time away from the continual political wranglings of the day, not to be dragged back into it. Love Fox News or hate Fox News; I don't care. I just don't want to hear about it in a fictionalized novel I bought to get away from all that.
Morton's performance was good. I would listen to him again.
The book does make you think about what would happen in a pandemic or other national disaster that shut down the country's emergency services, medical services, infrastructure and food supply. It did not help that as I was listening to this book, Ebola was sweeping across parts of West Africa. It did not make me a full blown "prepper" but it caused me to realize the need to have a couple of months emergency supplies on hand.
Regardless of what I wrote above, it is not a terrible book. Nevertheless, there are far better books available to spend 16 hours on.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
This is a L-O-O-O-O-NG story. You get your money's worth if you buy books by the hour. However, it could have been told in a much more compact, exciting, interesting way. If you haven't ready many books about dystopian societies, this one will be entertaining; maybe even seem pretty realistic. If you are better read, leave this on the shelf. I gave up on hoping for reality in this story when the snow plows arrived and cell service continued, despite the loss of all other services, including shipments of food, availability of medical care, and the loss of electricity.
The main character was Alex, a former Marine captain, who may or may not have PSTD eight years after the fact, and may or may not have a family he truly cares about, and may or may not make the darnedest decisions. . some of them borderline stupid. . when a global flu epidemic turns his Maine neighborhood into a combat zone.
The characters are really little than cardboard, nothing multi-dimensional about them at all. That leaves the listener wondering if he/she should really care how all this turns out. In the end (spoiler) everyone lives happily ever after, just as you know logically that every 12-year old boy who plays video games, would after using a automatic gun to kill a man who was about to shoot his dad.
The narration was solemn, slow paced and really fit the story, although it might put less committed listeners to sleep.
Three stars only because I finished the book. It was somewhat engaging.
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.
"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.
"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.
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