Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Lightning Fall", A Review (Part I)

So about a month ago Bill Quick sent me a review copy of his latest novel, Lightning Fall.  Getting it copied over to my tablet -- Kindle does not make it easy to "side load" anything you didn't buy from Amazon -- was complicated enough I forgot to tell Bill I had it and had started reading it.


And I fully expected to have it finished by now, but Life intervened, as it so often does. Bill, my apologies.

So, a review of the first third or so of the book...

Lightning Fall tells the tale of the aftermath of an attack on the USA.  In the near-future, an enemy launches three nukes with the intention of having them detonate in orbit,creating a High-altitude Electro-Magnetic Pulse (HEMP) effect, which, as all connoisseurs of man-made disaster know, will have the effect of frying the Grid, and most of not all electronics.

The attack on the West Coast succeeds, and basically wipes out all services west of the Rockies. The attack on New Orleans fizzles (or does it?), and nukes the city.  "Oh, it fizzled, hooray!"  Well, no, because it closes the Mississippi. The attack on the East Coast is delayed just enough that the missile in intercepted.

Adventures ensue.The story follows characters in California, a news crew that is (at the point in the book I'm at) trying to get to California, Indiana, Louisiana, and Washington DC. 

Some of the characters in DeeCee have had their names changed, but I'd be lying if I suggested there was any innocence there.

I'd also be lying if I didn't think "Why couldn't the DC bomb have been like the New Orleans one...?"

Bill tells the tale with just enough technical detail to make it obvious that he's studied, but not so much he comes off didactic or preachy, which is a problem with other post-apocalyptic/"prepper" fiction. (Not mentioning any particular patriots here by name...)(Bill, of course, is a pro, which can make a huge difference.  I have never published any fiction myself, but I could name a few books that would have been vastly improved if a professional editor had gotten at them.)

Bill ran a lot of ideas and asked a lot of questions while writing the book on his site Emergency Preps.  Some hilarity ensued there, as threads took turns he wasn't prepared for.  (No pun intended.)  Some members of the board also donned shirts of red, or adopted the nickname "Tucker."*

Now, this whole "A book review is not  a book report" thing is new to me, and part of my dilatoriness is caused by trying to study up on that stuff.  Hopefully it won't turn me into some libtard New York Times Review of Books type.  Somehow, I'm not worried. I can easily, for example, imagine some ivory tower type pointing out that in two separate venues in the book it's a teenage boy who explains what may have happened to the adults.  In both cases in the book, I find it plausible.  (It took me out of the story to the extent that I thought "Oooh, I can just hear a SFWA reviewer shouting "Deus Ex Machina!")  But, y'know, I was more into technology and what was not yet called prepping as a teenager than my parents were, so it worked for me.

Similarly, I can hear people across the country scoffing at the thought of a prepper living in San Francisco.  I'll let Bill decide if he wants to address his lifestyle with them.

Anyway, like I said, I'm maybe a third of the way through the book, and am enjoying it.  I think any fan of techno-thrillers, and any prepper, will enjoy it.


DaddyBear said...

Interesting. How does it compare to "2 Seconds After"?

DaddyBear said...

Errr, make that "One Second After". Derp.

Drang said...


For starters, bigger "cast", more locations. At least some of the characters were prepared. And we know who the bad guys re ;-)
Narrative style is not quite so dark.

AuricTech said...

I look forward to reading it. Identifying the Tuckerized members ought to be fun (so please don't include any spoilers on that front)....