More dystopia. In the near future, much of the population has been wiped out by some horrendous flu-like epidemic. Some of the survivors face a secondary infection in the blood. Those who aren't sick are trying to survive any way they can, and that means either making uneasy alliances, or killing any interlopers.
This is the world that Hig lives in after losing his wife and their unborn child. He's a pilot living on an abandoned airport; his uneasy alliance is with Bangley who, like Fiona in Burn Notice, would rather just shoot anyone who comes near than try to determine if another alliance can be made. Hig is all too aware that he needs to be of use to Bangley, or Bangley may just decide he's better off alone.
Hig has lived in this new world for nine years when one day something happens (I'll skip the spoilers) and he decides to take his plane out past the point of no return (not enough fuel to come back) in search of a signal he once picked up three years earlier. It's a brave, possibly suicidal step, given that he has no idea how the rest of the country is coping with the new reality.
I wanted to like this book. Hig is fleshed out very well, the situation is brought to life through his eyes. Bangley is intense and all too believable.
But I had issues with the way the book is written:
I asked him if he ever thought there was anything more than this, than just surviving, day to day. Recon, fixing the plane, growing the five vegetables, trapping a rabbit. Like what are we waiting for?
His chair, crick crick, stopped. He got very still like a hunter that smelled an animal on the wind. Close. Like he woke up.
More than this. Day to day.
He worked his jaw, his mineral eyes graying the fading light. Like maybe I'd tipped over the edge.
Gotta go he said. Stood up. Hooked a finger in the breast pocket of his flannel shirt, fished out the bottle cap, screwed it on. Carried his Coke off the porch, book cracking the broken step.
No quotation marks, tons of sentence fragments, very disjointed, every paragraph set apart with white space. In the end, it detracted from the story rather than adding to it. At times it did read very poetically and vividly, but that was offset by other scenes, such as when he comes across a woman bathing nude in a stream and all he can think about is her nice butt. The poetry gets lost at that moment.
I had some issues with some of the plot points too, which, again, I'm not giving spoilers. Still: the parts that were well written were really well written, and I'd be inclined to check out his next book (this is his first novel, although he's written several nonfiction books).