Deadly Ground is a fairly predictable end-of-the-world story with just a few twists that make it a little different.
The writing is simple, to the point where it reads like a children’s book, and the story is fairly short making it a quick read. The grisly subject matter, the attempts at deeper philosophical or religious speculation, and particularly the alien romance seem inconsistent with the writing style.
A deadly virus, (they assume it’s a virus; in fact, nobody gets a chance to get a close look at it) apparently wind-borne, appears out of nowhere and causes the entire human population of the earth to die off, dry up, and blow away in mere days. Except for AB and a very few people like him who have a rare genetic condition.
AB is a super-genius. He flies his own plane and has built his own mansion overlooking the ocean in California. He is portrayed as arrogant and angry and avoids personal relationships. But his day job is virus researcher at the CDC in Atlanta. Despite his hostility to people, in general, he seems to have a good relationship with his elderly neighbor and with his best friend and boss. The boss has called him back from vacation to work on the virus, but the staff doesn’t seal themselves into air-tight quarantine quickly enough, and everybody, even the remainder of the researchers, dies within a few minutes.
The best aspect of the book is the dog. AB collects his friend’s dust and goes to the friend’s home where he finds his family already dead as well. He collects their dust too, putting them all in the same container, and takes them with him. But apparently the virus does not affect non-primate animals, so their dog is still alive. AB takes the dog along with him too.
The strangest feature of the story is the aliens. After AB and Winnie, the dog, have made their way back to California, they live for a while in relative if lonely peace. Then Winnie passes on. AB makes several unsuccessful attempts at suicide and takes up drinking. Then, when both he and his house are severely damaged from one of the suicide attempts, a spaceship filled with aliens lands near his house.
Thanks to the author and Teddy Rose at Virtual Author Book Tours.com for a review copy of this book.