Thursday, 7 June 2018

DAYS OF PANIC by Jack Hunt

3.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon UK
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: Amazon browse.

Genre: Post apocalyptic EMP survival thriller 

Days of Panic charts the progress of four main characters during the first couple of days after an EMP strike on New York City, which kills off the power grid for the whole state.  Elliot is a homeless PTSD-stricken Iraq veteran, Damon an ex-con, Maggie has just escaped from an abusive boyfriend, and Jesse is a loner motorbike messenger still mourning his dead wife.

Another story runs alongside, that of Elliot's wife Rayna and their two kids, living in a small town upstate, with the luxury of Elliot's prepper shelter for when society collapses, as it begins to do almost immediately.

I liked how Hunt, in good disaster movie tradition, sets up his characters by illustrating their pre-disaster lives.  As those lives become entangled and they traverse the chaos to escape to Lake Placid and Rayna's house, though, I felt that Jesse and Maggie got somehow lost along the way.  Elliot and Damon were clear to me all the way through, totally 3D, but the other two became just names on a page.  I liked the Rayna story, that worked very well.

The suspense in this novel is terrific, and I enjoyed it all; I particularly liked how feasible it was, with Elliot (Hunt) knowing his stuff about both EMPs and bug out shelters; I found it completely convincing.  My only problem with it was one I keep finding with books of this genre, though this was better than others ~ it reads like it's been written quickly, checked over a few times, then bunged up on Amazon.  Jack Hunt is an excellent writer and I shall definitely download the next book, though only because I can do so on Kindle Unlimited; I may not if I had to pay for it.  There are lots and lots of run-on sentences (I don't think there is one semicolon in the whole book), and lazy grammar and missing punctuation. Then there are instances such as Elliot estimating that the four of them could walk the 285 miles to Lake Placid in four days.  Dude, that's over 70 miles per day.  Even experienced, fit hikers with proper footwear would consider half that distance pretty hard going, and Maggie had an injured leg, which makes me sure that the book has never seen either an editor or very thorough re-drafting.  Shame - if it had a couple of good re-writes and a proofreader/copy editor who knows his/her stuff, it would be terrific and the stuff of which 5* reviews are made.  Having said that, Jack Hunt publishes a new book every five minutes and sells tons of them, so I doubt he will care too much what I think!

I did like it, quite a lot in places, which makes it worthy of 4*, but in the interests of objective reviewing I feel I can only give it 3.5*, rounded up on Amazon and down on Goodreads.

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