Trevor Smith has a pretty good idea of the razor's edge modern society walks, with the vast majority of people completely dependent on reliable sources of electricity and gas, and everything shipped to them at the last possible instant. When a major attack cripples the US's oil refining capabilities and destroys a significant portion of US fuel reserves, the nation practically runs out of gas overnight. It's time to see if the preparations he and his cousin Lewis Halsson have made in their hometown of Aspen Hill are enough to carry them through the disaster.
His friend Matt Larson isn't quite so fortunate, caught unprepared and unaware of the grim reality of the situation when a society completely dependent on fuel runs out. He finds himself struggling to adjust as everything falls apart around him, fleeing one step ahead of the chaos to reach Aspen Hill. Now he must depend on his own strength and ingenuity and the help of family and friends to see him through.
Yet even Matt can consider himself lucky compared to most. The vast majority of people living in the nation's cities are on the move, fleeing population centers in all directions with no food and nowhere to go as starvation looms. Meanwhile emergency services scramble to stay ahead of the disaster with insufficient resources, faced with the impossible prospect of aiding tens or even hundreds of millions of desperate refugees.
A number of those refugees are making their way to Aspen Hill, which presents a crisis of its own for a town that has nothing to spare and is struggling to care for its citizens.
I liked the idea of this book as it was a bit different from other apocalypse books and focused on how quickly fuel would run out after a terrorist attack on the oil supplies. A war between Iran and Israel has halted all supplies from leaving the Middle East and the President is allowing consumers to keep using at the same level, consuming all the oil reserves. This proves a catastrophe in the making when Gulf refineries are attacked and production ceases.
Trev and his cousin Lewis have been preparing for a disaster of some kind for years, stockpiling food in their home town. Trev is at college and has stockpiled his own supplies there so he can either hole up or use the provisions to get home safely. When they see what is unfolding on the news, Lewis tells his cousin to get moving and back to their town to wait things out. The opening few chapters were pretty good and I thought I was going to like it. Trev is getting ready to leave and trying to get his friends to listen to his warnings about what is coming and the story was being set up nicely.
And then the stupidity of the MCs started to wreck the story. Trev and Lewis claim to be preppers but Trev's journey proves that he is just an idiot. He has a full tank of fuel, supplies at his college dorm, supplies that Lewis is guarding at home...yet he decides to waste hours driving around town trying to get fuel AFTER the President has announced that fuel will only be given to emergency vehicles! He should have left when Lewis told him to and he would've been home before all the chaos began. Only then does he decide to get ready to leave, packing all his supplies in his car in broad daylight, causing an attempted armed robbery by another student. Jeez Trev, where are your brains??? Matt doesn't believe him and waits an extra week before heading for the same town, getting caught up in looting and riots.
Finally Trev gets on the country road leading home-and runs out of fuel a third of the way there. Lewis can't drive out to collect him because the fuel he stockpiled has gone bad as he didn't treat it or keep replenishing the stock. Either Trev can't count or wasted too much driving around town but now he faces days of walking and he can't take all the supplies with him. After burying his stuff in a cache to keep it safe, he heads off with a pack that is too heavy and walks in the dark, leading to him doing his ankle in. Oh jeez I was tearing my hair out. On the whole journey home over many days, he saw one car I think on the road. Walk in the day when you can see, take cover if you hear a car, sleep at night you idiot! It's a quiet road so the chances of being seen were remote. What he is carrying of course doesn't include painkillers or a first aid kit...
Back in town when Trev finally gets there, he and Lewis argue that the refugees coming to the town must be turned away as resources will not stretch to all the strangers. Yet after they seal the borders, who is the first one to fall for a sob story and let a scheming liar into the community? Oh yes that would be Trev! What is wrong with the guy?
Frankly I just got tired of all Trev's stupidity, I hated the scheming refugee who lied to everyone and nobody in town was smart enough to even check on what she was saying. I have a low tolerance for dumb characters and I just had enough.
Read January 2017.