Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Expecting the Unexpected

Review: Get Out of Denver by Algor X. Dennison

The first book in the Denver Burning series is a thrilling story of escape through a collapsing near-future urban landscape. Not the urban East, though, where such collapses have already begun. This is the upscale southeast-Denver suburb of Aurora, with its golf courses, green-spaces, and gated communities.

When an EMP pulse takes out the city's computer-managed power and communications systems, few people are prepared for the results. Then a second event crashes the electrical systems of the small percentage of machines with no digital management, and life in the greater Denver complex is thrown back to the feudal Dark Ages.

MacLean Ferrier is one of the few prepared for a post-machine society. His home is a ranch in the Rocky Mountains south of Aspen, but he's in Denver for supplies and to visit a friend when the EMP shuts things down. His friend, Carrie Alton, unlike MacLean, is no "prepper." She's a staffer in a homeless shelter, trying to serve a community of down-and-outs who don't qualify for assistance under the strict rules of official charity in Denver.

Until the pulse, Carrie thought the impending closure of the shelter was the worst disaster that could happen. Now, airplanes are falling out of the sky, local gangs are poised to take over the quiet bedroom communities around her, and her friend MacLean has left to head to his ranch.

The core of the story is what happens in an otherwise civil society when the rule of law gives way to the rule of the strong. Dennison does a good job of keeping the prepper focus light; his characters are not straw men set up to epitomize good or evil. Except for the Denver Mayor. There's a shallow person! One wonders, what did the real Mayor do to tick off the author?

Tense, enthralling action, a likeable hero and heroine, and villains worthy of every hiss and booyou'll finish this novel ready to go on to the sequel, and join MacLean, Carrie, and their prepper community to Take Back Denver.