8/1 - A really tense atmosphere and plenty of action make this quite the page turner. I didn't like Jimmy to start with, he reminded me of a character from the tv show Kingdom. He was way too ready to use his fists to solve his problems, but once the disaster struck his penchant for fighting became a logical response to what was going on around him rather than the easiest quick-fix option that's only going to make the situation worse.
I didn't realise this was the start of a series until I got to the end of the book and we're left with a cliff hanger. The idea that the police would turn up and declare "everything's fine now, you can all go back to your lives" was laughable and I'm surprised that so many people fell for it. How could they go back to their lives? If what happened to Jimmy and the others with him is any example 25% of the country (if not the world) is dead or injured as a result of most of the population going crazy. Every house, every place of business has been looted or even completely destroyed, most people wouldn't even have a home to go back to. Like in most disaster situations, it's going to take a very long time for things to go back to normal.
I'm not American and my government is not really like the American government, so maybe everything Antinozzi said about FEMA and the government is true or possible in the right situation, but I found it hard to believe the National Guard would behave as they were portrayed. Especially the 'shooting civilians without violent provocation' part. They were no better than the bikers. Frightened civilians were no safer with the people supposedly there to protect them than they were with those known for their violent and ruthless nature.
None of the above means that I didn't have problems with the book, I most certainly did, particularly in the editing department (I know, shock horror! :o).
The first thing I noticed (not an editing mistake) was that the opening words were 'Friday, September 24, 1869'. That's my birthday, 115 years before my birth.
Now onto the editing mistakes (sorry, no page numbers with this eBook):
'Had Bill's booming voice waked her up?
That should be 'woken'.
'Jimmy shook his head and unlocked the driver door.'
That should be either driver's or driver's side door.
'Carl must've known heard that in his voice.'
Even if you delete the mistakenly added known from that sentence it still needs work.
'Julie gave Jimmy a flash of smile...'
That should be a flash of a smile.
'...keeping together close as Ken had instructed.'
That should be keeping close together.
'He was relieved that Ken had finally made the peace.'
That whole sentence needs to be reworked, something like 'He was relieved that he and Ken were finally able to make peace with each other.' would work much better. To 'make one's peace with someone' means to reconcile with a person, it doesn't work when you change 'make' to 'made'.
'...a gun would become as much of his daily attire...'
The words a part are missing between much and of.
'There's always fish and worse comes to worse...'
The phrase is actually if worst comes to worst, sometimes if worse comes to worst but never as Antinozzi wrote above.
'Jimmy cocked his fists back and threw an exaggerated left hook...'
He only punched with one hand, so that should be fist.
'Many of Ken's people seemed most jealous...'
From the context of the sentence I think that's meant to be almost.
'Jimmy could count three people in that boat, one at the back and steering...'
That and is unnecessary.
'Buck says they even have the blocked on the far end of town.'
Whole sentence needs to be rewritten so that it actually makes sense.
'...raced up to Brenda with a buck and dumped its contents over Brenda's head.
From the context I'm going to assume Antinozzi's not talking about throwing money at Brenda, but a bucket of something.
'They rode in two abreast...'
That should either be they rode two abreast or they rode in pairs.
'Paula told Jimmy of how they'd fled the cities, barely escaping with their lives.'
Paula, her parents and Carl didn't flee multiple cities, they fled one. Therefore that should be city.
'Trying to makes some conversation...'
That should be make.
'Jimmy felt as if a light had just gone off in his head.'
The way that's written it sounds like the metaphorical light has been switched off instead of on, kind of the opposite of the idea I assume Antinozzi was trying to get across.
'"Ken and Patty talked me into leaving Tuscan and moving out here."'
Is that meant to be Tucson?
'"I didn't tell you that we were alone in the woods..."'
That sentence isn't correct, but if you make it correct with the easiest option the sentence ends up being a double negative - I didn't tell you that we weren't alone in the woods... - which while being correct, just doesn't sound right. The whole sentence needs to be reworked, and the following one too, to make it all work properly.
'For all he knew, everybody would have heard about it by now...'
That should be could.
'Fully half of Cleveland's workforce was unemployed...'
Is that an American idiom I'm unaware of? What is the point of the word fully in that sentence? It's not like the absence of the word fully will leave readers thinking that only a portion of half of the Cleveland population were unemployed. I don't get that at all.
'You could've lived the high life, gone to balls and played golf and did all that other stuff that rich people do.'
That should be done.
'He tried standing them off by himself...'
I think what Antinozzi was trying to say was He tried to make a stand....
'He suddenly remembered the backpacks that he and Jon had left them in the woods...'
The them is unnecessary.
'"She's telling them that God has provided plenty for them to eat, in the lakes and forests."
"You ever eat a pine tree?" asked Burt.
"No, I haven't," said Jon.
"Me either," said Jimmy. "Can you do that?"
Ken smiled. Sorry boys," he said, "that must've been before your time."
"Damn, I sure feel old," said Burt.'
What the hell are they on about? Does that mean anything to someone older than my (and Jimmy's) 31 years?
Chapters 6 and 28 have the same opening factoid about the powers of FEMA in an emergency.
Chapters 21 and 29 have the same opening factoid about who President Roosevelt blamed for the problems of his day.
'Unloading and reloading the truck took nearly the better part of an hour.'
It's either nearly an hour or the better part of an hour, it can't be both.
The same location
'...washing it down with bottles of generic soda.
Why do we care that the soda was generic?
'...he found a long-handled spade shovel...'
It's either a spade or a shovel, it can't be both. According to Wikipedia shovels 'generally are broad-bottomed tools for moving loose materials, whereas spades tend to have a flat bottom edge for digging.'
'He couldn't fight the hitch in his breathing any more than one could stanch a hiccup.
I think that's meant to be staunch, because stanch isn't a word (spell check keeps trying to change it to 'stanchion').
'Jimmy dug until the hole was three feet deep; then took the shovel from his hands and motioned for Jimmy to step out of the grave.'
They can't both be Jimmy, the second one should be changed to Dr Benson as in the next sentence he begins to 'attack the rocky soil'.
'The road seemed deserted and. He knew it wouldn't be for long.'
Bad punctuation to start with, but even if the full stop/capital letter mix up was fixed the sentence would still be awkward. If there was a comma after deserted followed by a but everything would work better.
'"Are you sure you're all right? Maybe Doc has something you could take."
"I'll be fine, Jimmy. I don't want to take anything. I need my wits about me."
Panadol is going to make you 'witless'? That's an extreme and slightly martyrish take on over the counter painkillers.
'That was out of the question since with Paula tied to his neck.'
I know what he's trying to say, but how did that turn into tied to his neck'?
'The last day at the Plant...'
Why is plant capitalised?
'...her eyes streaked with tears.'
Her eyes aren't streaked with anything (if they were she'd be moaning in pain), her cheeks are.
Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! I did not realise how many notes I'd made. Once I started pointing them out I couldn't see any not worth bringing up, so I had to mention them all, all 37 of them. I still really enjoyed the story, but I'm wondering if four stars is the right rating for a book with that many errors. I've been writing this review for 2.5 hours and I'm down to under 10,000 characters left, which makes this the longest review I've ever written. Funny how that happens when there are things to complain about, but when you love the book so much you want to marry it you have no words except saying 'fantastic' over and over. I would definitely read the next book in the series, but for the right (cheap) price.