Saturday, October 29, 2011

Book Review: One Second After

One Second After by William Forstchen is our November book club choice. This is not a book I would normally pick out to read, and that's just one of the many things I love about book club.

This novel is set in Black Mountain, NC, not too far from where I live. The main character is a history professor and retired military man with two daughters. One afternoon they notice a strange silence and discover that the cars on the interstate aren't moving. Eventually they discover that absolutely no electrical devices are working. The professor soon figures out that a nuclear bomb contained an electromagnetic pulse that destroyed anything electrical. I wasn't terribly interested in all that, but I'm sure some readers would find that discussion fascinating.

The rest of the novel focuses on how a town survives when it's thrust back hundreds of years. I really appreciated how Forstchen tackled the town bit by bit: what happens in the nursing homes, to people who rely on medicines, to the mentally unstable. How parents starve themselves so their children can have a bit of food. How inevitably, bands of terrorists form and roam the countryside, killing for food.

The writing itself was aggravating but I managed to get through it as a plot read. Way too much dreadfully forced, cheesy dialogue. Stiff action. Bad editing. But again, it was a great plot read. It doesn't hold a candle to Stephen King's The Stand or Cormac McCarthy's The Road, but it was interesting.

Linked up with Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books

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