The Scorched Earth by Terry Mixon
Terry has written a couple of books that I’m quite fond of (namely his Empire of Bones saga, reviewed here, and here) so I thought this one was worth a try too – and while it’s not perfect, there is enough in it that I’m probably going to pick up book 2 when it’s eventually released.
Now if you recall from some previous posts, I have been using Kindle Unlimited – well that changed earlier this month so this was a full cash purchase. The question I’m sure that’s uppermost in your mind is was it worth the $6.50? Well, without being too wishy-washy … Yes and No. 🙂
See the idea here is that the Earth is about to be bombarded by high-intensity solar radiation … this will act somewhat like an EMP and short circuit a significant percentage of our non-hardened electrical and computing equipment. Unfortunately, seconds prior to the bombardment a rogue nation state decides to attack the US. The US in retaliation shoots some nukes at them, which sets off a chain of events with nukes flying all over the world and destroying any remaining infrastructure that the solar radiation doesn’t get! Basically, the whole world is screwed!
Our hero and main protagonist (Tom) however just happens to be a bit of a gun nut (lucky right?) and while he’s not a survivalist, he happens also to be a (successful) author of post-apocalyptic fiction which not only ensures that he always knows the right thing to do, it gives him more than enough liquid capital to buy his way out of a few troublesome spots. Also fortunately for Tom his contacts at the gun show he’s attending include an ex-army sniper and a retired member (Moshe) of the IDF (Israel Defence Force) and his daughter. Tom is again really “lucky” as not only is Moshe someone that knows their way around weaponry – he owns a gun shop and is able to outfit the expedition that Tom is building to return to his home. Moshe also happens to know a doctor! Isn’t Tom lucky?
Sorry, I know that I’m laying it on a bit thick there, and while that is intended, it’s frustrating when everything is lining up in such a perfect manner for our main character. You’d expect some troublesome issues to raise their head, but aside from the fact that he had a bit of a case of the shakes after killing his first looter, Tom and almost everyone else seems perfectly willing and able to gun down anyone that gets in their way. While it’s an admirable attitude and probably something that would develop over time – the fact that Tom is able to do it in the first 15min – 1/2 hr after the bomb’s start dropping pushes the bounds of belief a little. In addition, his ability to persuade everyone else to go along with him also doesn’t help! Finally and probably the thing that annoyed me the most was the fact that Tom ALWAYS seems to know exactly the right thing to do. He never seems to get surprised by someone else’s actions and can always plan around what they are going to do.
Now that the negative is out of the way – let’s talk a little bit about the positives. The overall idea itself is quite interesting and while it feels a bit rushed the whole thing does work. The action sequences though are definitely standouts in my opinion and make this book. While the minutiae of the different types of guns are a bit boring, their capabilities are quite interesting. I’m interested in seeing where Terry goes with book 2 and beyond and while I’m not expecting Tom and crew to be decimated, I would like there to be a bit more realism to their struggles.