My lack of motivation and energy in most other directions has left me with lots of reading time, so I have two books by Colorado authors to tell you about today.
First is Seeds by Chris Mandeville.
This novel is a post-apocalyptic adventure that moves along at a very swift pace. The disaster that took down society as we know it was a massive solar flare, or series of flares I suspect. Frying electronics, destroying all life that happened to be out in the open, the flare devastated huge parts of the country (and we presume, the world, although we don’t get to find out the fate of the rest of the globe in this novel). Survivors eat rats and whatever leftover food they can salvage in cans or jars, hoping to avoid botulism and salmonella from old supplies.
A multiple point-of-view novel with short, snappy chapters, Seeds kept me reading even when my eyes grew tired (I bought this one as an ebook and read it on my non-backlit Kindle). Young Reid, who left his safe but politically undesirable haven in Colorado Springs with his dead brother’s wife, Kayla, to search for seeds so new crops can be sown in other communities, is the main good guy I cheered for throughout the novel. Pascal is the evil ruler of Lost Angeles, a community where death is the solution to anything that displeases Pascal.
The search for seeds points to an important element of planning for any future disaster– the need for seed banks stored in a variety of safe locations where the environment can be controlled. Luckily, at least one culture within the U.S. has planned ahead in this novel. Reid just needs to find it and then convince the community to share.
This is good writing in one of my favorite genres…I hope it’s the beginning of a series.
The second book is Mountain Rampage by Scott Graham.
This is the second book in Graham’s national park mystery series. I received a print copy of this book from the publisher when I invited Scott to be a guest author on this blog.
For me, Mountain Rampage was a true “I can’t put it down” mystery. I admit part of the reason was the setting. Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, and the YMCA of the Rockies resort make an irresistible combination for most of us Coloradoans. And when the mystery involves poaching wildlife, archaeological projects, and murder, it’s a lock. When you add solid writing skills and excellent plotting to the mix, throw in great pacing, a couple of social issues, and a terrifying fire near the cabins, you have a good read. I like the main character, Chuck Bender, who’s an archaeologist. His wife and two stepdaughters add depth to his character and help make him a thoroughly likable guy.
I’m adding Graham’s first national park mystery to my TBR list and will look forward to future books in the series.
I’m on to other books this week. The mountains on my coffee table and the overflowing shelves of my bookcase need to be tamed. Saturday I started reading Vanished by Joseph Finder, a book I bought and had signed way back in 2009 at Bouchercon in Indianapolis.