Shawn Chesser never disappoints. Twelve books in already, and everyone of them have been exceptional. This one in particular is extra dark and bleak. Nothing good is happening in Cade's world, and his attitude is now you either sink or swim on your own. Gone is the man that stepped in to support his fellow survivors, they now either step up and take care of things or they suffer the consequences. Cade is done caring, with the one exception, his daughter. Cold, calculating, remorseless is all that remains of Cade now. Again he and the survivors are back to dealing with the cannibals as well as hordes of dead, and nothing is going to stop Cade from doing what he has to. A lot of loss in this book and with only more bad news to come.
This one starts with Cade Greyson in the throws of a nightmare. Of course that nightmare includes the walking dead. Cade who is still reeling from the death of Brook, his wife. Cade had to put her down when the serum she was given gave out. Nash had told him on his last mission that the serum had been failing. Brook and he made an agreement that if needed he Cade would do the deed.
Cade is determined that daughter Raven will be able to protect herself so he's taking her outside the wire for lessons and practice. Any place outside the compound is called outside the wire. Its a place where the walking dead are constantly kept track of. Cade is proud of Raven because his daughter was trained mostly by Brook and Raven retains all of that training. Both gun care, shooting and being aware of what's around her. Cade will be working on her bush craft and any other survival lessons he can teach.
Bridgette has learned all about the compound and those in it. She isn't well liked by most of those in the compound and Cade for the life of him can't figure out how a vote let her stay. She's lazy, a glutton and does nothing. She's also suspected of stealing food. Cade and Tran, who doesn't like her at all, found out she's working for the cannibals and has sent then the coordinates for the compound to them. Bridgette leaves and tells no one. She heads for the highway for pickup by her fellow cannibals. As she was going over one of the fences she landed in a punji pit and was injured. She sucked it up and kept going. Brigette won't live to see her cannibal friends.
So begins another fine read by Chesser.
This one has Cade, Lev, Jamie, Duncan, Glenda, Seth, Tran, Raven, Sasha, Alexander Dragen, his son Gregory his other son Peter, a visit to Daymon and Heidie's new home, an ambush Cade sets up that kills a bunch of the cannibals, cannibals who have no training or technical skill, cannibals Cade considers the JV team, another ambush Cade sets up to take out a few more of the cannibals, the Hummer with the M-2 that makes it all possible, a Cade who decides he needs to go after Adrian, the leader of the cannibals, a Cade who contacts his old friend Beeson, the Stealth Hawk, Ari, Haynes, Cross, Lopez, Axe and Griff who are going with him, Alexander Dragen who is dying of cancer who drives an ice cream truck to lure a mega hoard away from Bear River where he lives, two groups of Green Beret's that are also going on this raid with Cade, a Beeson who's now the head of JSOC, a Beeson who won't tolerate gangs of any kind that prey on survivors, a flyover Adrianville, a compound that has goats, chickens, pigs, a compound that is blockaded, guards who are less than bright eyed, a Cade and crew who head in, the rescue of a young girl, an Adrian who flees to the barn, two body bags one of which contains Heidie, the other which is not Daymon and Cade Greyson doing his best to deal with his demons, save those he can, protect those with him and stay alive.
Zombies are in the back ground of this story because this is about Cade....After having to perform the greatest act of mercy in his life, Cade is now faced with the very real possiblity(Possible Spoilers) Raven will be alone. Death in ineviatable but he wants to make sure his daughter is as capabale of surviving the nightmare that has become their lives these past four or five months, he must impart to her some of his knowledge to give her the tools she will need to survive when he is not around especially when he has learned learned Duncan left Adrian maimed and for the dead. But is she dead and even is she is there were several that escaped and the mauraders had been doing more than killing and establishing their territory. They are also stripping the flesh of their victims. Cannibles! Whether Adrian is alive or dead Cade knows he cannot have such a dangerous group so close to the Eden compound, or his daughter, especially when he has serious doubts about the latest newcommer. Bridgette is not what she seems and he has questions she cannot answer to is satisfaction. To protect his daughter against any that would threaten her safety, he will become what he was trained to be, a hunter of man. He can no longer afford to give Wilson and Taryn time to adjust, they must sink or swim and they must do it now. Cade will not allow anyone or anything to endanger the life of the only thing that is keeping him sane. He is angy, withdrawn and he is lost and it shows. Sink or Swim is his new mantra. If they are all to survive this dangerous new world, they must learn and learn fast he has no time to coddle them. When new atrocities are discovered leading him to believe Adrian is still alive, now more than ever he must awaken that which was slumbering just below the surface. His demon is awake and he is about to let it loose. Unfortunately Duncan is feeling his own guilt for not ensure Adrian was dead and leaving some of her followers alive. And he has his own demons to fight and appears to be a loosing. Cade cannot help him, he has a job to do....
We are not a witness to Cade's actions when he arrived to find Brook had succumbed to the virus. But he carries the memories with him and it shows, Raven is now his priority, and he will do his best to keep her safe. For him it is sink or swim and he has no intention of drowining just yet. He has work to do, loose ends to tie and Adrian and her followers are at the end of that short rope and he will not be satisfied until they are all dead. This is perhaps the second best in the series(the first book being the best in my opinion). I for one am glad we did not experience what must have been a heart wrenching task. We mourn with Cade, at his loss, his nightmares and the memory of what had to be done. But with the passing of Brook, a much loved and admired character, a new era is born. Over the "four or five months" of the zombie apocolypse we have been a witness to a modicum of what Cade is capable of, now there is a malestrom on the horizon and Cade is the center of the storm. Well done Mr. Chesser.