Tuesday, 12 June 2018

DAYS OF CHAOS by Jack Hunt

3.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Amazon.com
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I read the 1st book in the series, Days of Panic, and liked it enough to download this, the second.  Discovered the first via Amazon browse.

Genre: Post apocalyptic EMP survival thriller.  Part II of series

It's a couple of weeks after an EMP strike on New York, and the four survivors from the first book are settled in Lake Placid, a town 300 miles away from NYC.  The tipping point has passed, and civilised society is on the slide.  People divide into groups: those who run about like headless chickens and believe that the army/government will save them, the savvy survivors who see the danger ahead, and the baddies, who are hoping to cash in on others' desperation.

As before, the story is great.  Elliot, the PTSD suffering ex-Marine stands out as the best character, and I very much liked the conflict between him and his old army friend Gary, now a police officer running the town, who doesn't see that he can't keep law and order and expect the townsfolk to pull together in the way that they might have in a lesser crisis.  Meanwhile, Damon's ex-friend Cole and his drug-dealing and violent crew feature large in this book ~ I liked that Cole is the intelligent baddie, who sees ways of putting himself in control of both his town, Keene, and next door Lake Placid, that his more thuggish mates don't understand.  It's pacy and eventful - all good....

....however, the lack of editing and proofreading still bothered me too much.  Run-on sentences and missing commas galore, lazy grammar, and the strange appearance of an philosophical/practically instructive omniscient narrator now and again, when the author wants to make some point about human nature or describe how a gun works.  These passages would have worked much better if they'd been part of Elliot's inner or spoken dialogue.  There are actually a couple of semicolons in this book, but I think whoever put them in must have thought 'hey, what about that little bitty thing with the dot and the comma underneath?  Don't I have to shove a couple of them somewhere?', closed their eyes and stuck them in randomly.  

Jack Hunt obviously knows his survival and gun stuff, though not how women talk to each other - Jack, please know this now: no woman will tell her friend that her husband has come onto her unless she wants to get one over on her.  Seriously.  The potentially interesting Jesse and Maggie continued to fade into minor characterhood, having become attracted to each other (allegedly); other than that, they seem to serve no function apart from being the third character needed to drive a car, or to take a bullet so that Damon can talk about how to deal with gunshot wound.  Talking of Damon, he has gained a long-term girlfriend in this book, who was never mentioned in the last...

....but, I still kind of liked it.  If the books had been given a bit more spit and polish, and a proofread by someone who knows how to punctuate, I'd definitely download the next one.  As it is, I probably won't, at least not for a while.

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