Friday, 21 April 2017

Book Review: Curtain Fall by Kenneth Cary (The Gatekeeper #1)

A troubling, prophetic dream plagues retired army officer John Anderson, encouraging him to prepare for an unknown disaster. When he hears of seismic activity in Yellowstone National Park, John realizes what’s coming: the Yellowstone Caldera is about to erupt.

In the hectic days before the eruption, John tries to warn family and friends with varying success. Although he convinces his wife and children, others dismiss him as a nut-job survivalist.In preparation for the disaster, John lays in food and other supplies as he struggles to understand dreams that prompt him to action.


Written by disaster preparedness consultant Kenneth Cary, Curtain Fall is a realistic, day-by-day portrayal of how to prepare for and survive a major disaster. The last time the Yellowstone Caldera erupted, thousands of square miles were covered with volcanic rocks and ash, devastating what is now Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Will you be ready when the curtain falls?

My Review: 
John has always been aware that his dreams mean something and the latest dream of dead children and falling ash disturbs him all day at work, especially when he hears about volcanic activity around Yellowstone. When an image from the dream comes true at lunchtime, a frightened John takes time off work, removes the kids from school and starts getting his family ready for disaster. With only days to get ready for a life changing apocalypse, they have to work fast...

The first chapter came very close to putting me off reading the rest of it. There was a detailed info dump covering every second of his tedious drive to work which I couldn't understand being there as it added nothing to the book! Thankfully, this was the only part I found frustrating and the story kicks off when he is at work. So push through that boring part and the book improves.

I read a lot of apocalypse books but this was the first time that the MC has had a dream warning of the coming disaster. I know some reviewers didn't like this but I found it pretty interesting. I've always been the kind of person who believes in listening to your gut or the voice in your head telling you not to do something or whatever, so I was intrigued by the prophecy dream plot. I think it's nice to see something different. John is quick to link his dreams to the ongoing news reports about the Yellowstone volcano showing signs of activity. A creepy experience during his lunch break alarms him almost to the point of panic.

What I liked about John was that he did start to panic. I read a lot of books with various types of prepper characters and John is different. He is prepared for trouble ahead but when he realises that it is about to happen, he gets scared and almost has a panic attack at work. I liked that the enormity of the looming disaster had him so scared for his family and their survival. It made him seem like a more realistic character. He isn't the totally calm prepper, he forgets about important details and he berates himself for not being as ready as he could have been. I liked him as a character and I liked the family dynamic that he had with his wife and kids.

There is a lot of detail about the preperations and projects that John is doing which some readers might find boring but I really enjoyed it. He only has days to get ready, there is a lot of work to be done and it feels as if there is this looming deadline of doom, like a giant clock ticking down as he works to get things done. Each hour he fills with tasks brings us closer to disaster and the tension slowly builds through each chapter as we wait for the eruption. John contacts his family and friends to warn them what is about to happen but gets little response so we don't know if they are going to follow his advice. We also see some interaction with a neighbour who asks for help in preparing his own family after his wife has a similar dream to John's. I hope we see more of Paul and Marissa through the series.

I liked the addition of John having a daughter with diabetes and the issue he faces trying to stockpile her medicine in the few days he has left. He and his wife Jenna are scared about how they are going to cope with helping her when the medicine runs out. This adds another aspect of fear to the normal disaster plot.

I loved the tension in this book. Disaster apocalypse books are my favourites because I love the detail, the planning, the prepping and the countdown to diaster. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Read January 2017.
star rating photo: Four Star Rating 4stars.png


  1. I'm glad the author got the info dump out of his system early on and things improved from there.

    1. It was strange to have it there and then the book suddenly improves after the opening chapter or two. Weird! I am glad it ended up a good read.

  2. I often push through a boring or slow beginning to get to the guts of read. I like books like this so I may give it a go.

    1. It doesn't last long thankfully and then I was able to get my teeth into the story. One of the many series I want to read this year!

  3. He does sound realistic. I feel like characters in lots of books are just way too calm about stuff that most people would freak the heck out over.

    1. Being prepared logistically for a disaster is one thing but being mentally ready when it happens is a whole new animal! I totally agree!