Chaos Gains (After the EMP #5) by Harley Tate

Read June 2018
Recommended for fans of the apocalypse
★    ★   1/2  

In to every apocalypse, a little rain must fall. Well, not rain, here–that’s a metaphor, silly–but rather the apocalypse standby trope, Fighting Back Against the Man and His Military. In this case, we’re pretty sure the military has gone rogue, so it’s okay. Plus, they want to torture kittens, eat pets and run a brothel. Clearly not your average military.

Colt and Danielle have found a moment of respite after the events of the prior book and are resting up, healing Colt’s wounds and basically deciding how much they’d like to get involved in the troubles of a small university town that seems to be run by the National Guard, but is actually a militia. With an apparent bunch of idiots for militia members, I guess, who go from being normal Guard types to men who would do these things.

This entry into the series feels even more like an action movie than the last, and while I appreciate the different focus from the first trilogy, it was too much thriller for me to really enjoy it. Put ‘Jack Reacher’ in for ‘Colt,’ and ‘toothbrush’ in for ‘Danielle,’ and you’d almost have any Reacher thriller. The story really isn’t about survival as much as it is about waking up a cowed population. In the tradition of action heroes, it continues to venerate Colt, eventually adding in a newer associate. My take home message was that women are strong, mostly, but, you know, different, and may need a tough guy to help them figure out when compassion is appropriate. Except with said tough guy, naturally. There’s also an ankle broken at the appropriately distressing moment. Danielle continues to be the exception to the female rules.

Tate continues to find bon mots of cultural commentary irresistible:

“Reducing the flow of information was an effective strategy to keep law and order with a minimum of security. If you thought your neighbor was complying and the one after that and the one after that”

which I don’t necessarily mind; I’m generally a strong believer in critical analysis (I know you are surprised by this, dear reader), but again, it doesn’t feel quite natural. Colt does connect it to population control in Afghanistan or somewhere, so it made a little more sense, but he forgets to mention how publicized removal and killing of ‘sympathizers’ also plays more than a minor role in population control.

Anyway, I didn’t hate it, despite my somewhat snarky review, but more than the other trilogy, this ends on a somewhat unfinished note. I haven’t taken the bait yet–I really was in the mood for the end of civilization–hey, if I have to use the neighbor’s bathroom, maybe everyone else should suffer with me–and skipped ahead to Southern Grit, book seven in the trilogy that begins with a couple experiencing the breakdown in the Atlanta area.

About thebookgator

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