Way back on the 17th of May 2012 I posted my sixth installment of free apocalyptic books for the kindle. In the posting was an offering for Breakers. I always download the books I post while they're free but many times it takes awhile for me to read the book. I do have quite the long list of to be read stuff. Point here is that I just now got around to reading this one. But when I finally got around to reading it I was very pleasantly surprised. Turned out to be pretty damned fantastic.
It's a story told from two different view points and it alternates back and forth between the two every chapter. First we meet Raymond and his wife Mia. They live in California and are fairly recent additions after a move from Washington. They figure they'll find work easily and as the book begins we see that it hasn't worked out quite that way at all. Money is tight and Walt is desperate. Desperate enough to even sell drugs. Their own world is falling apart.
Next we meet Walt. He lives in Manhattan and has a fairly hot girlfriend who he thinks might be on the edge of leaving him. To avoid this he fakes a heart condition thinking that she couldn't possibly leave him while he was in poor health. And he's right.
Then one day while he's out and about a guy stumbles out of a restaurant pukes blood and then falls over an dies on the street.
The disease is named 'The Panhandler'. Two reasons for the name are
given. First that it 'Nickles and dimes you to death' through blood lose
and second is the it appeared in the Idaho panhandle (Idaho doesn't
have a panhandle you say .... pfffffft. Hold the pan by the handle and
then point it at the floor .... see it now?).
Meanwhile in California things are beginning to go bad as well. Raymond goes to the store with every intention of making purchases and being a good citizen and whatnot. However when he arrives there's a full scale looting and riot happening so Raymond joins in. As more people get ill society breaks down but for Raymond this is good news and the civil unrest that is being caused by the disease means that he can finally find a job. He gets work as an armed guard and as the world around him and Mia die they live pretty comfortably. After the owner meets an unfortunate demise they move into the mansion and hunker down, scavenge and just wait for the disease to burn itself out.
This part of the story was alright some scenes of mayhem and destruction. Walt's story was far better.
Things in New York quickly go bad as well and as as The Panhandler rages it's clear that there is no cure and that it's 100% lethal. So soon you have those are immune, those who are ill, and lots of corpses. One of those who snuffs it is Walt's girlfriend. It doesn't long for the military to begin rounding up the immunes and bundling them away for some research.
Walt escapes and sets out on a journey by foot across country. Along the way he fights off other survivors and scavenges daily for food and water. This was the part of the book I liked best.
And then about half way into his journey he gets into an epic battle with a giant space lobster. But it's ok though folks, the aliens make sense in the story. And all is good.
The best part of the whole book (for me anyhow) was the super fast understanding that the world had changed and that any of the old rules no longer applied. You don't give the bad guy a second chance, you don't hesitate. When you have the drop on someone who was going to kill you, YOU FUCKING KILL THEM FIRST! Then you walk away with no regrets ready to face the next situation. Not wanting it, attempting to avoid it, but ready. You don't monologue with the guys you take whatever advantage you are able to grab.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a mix of The Stand (just no evil dude wandering around) and Falling Skies I guess. But really a great book and one of the best I've read recently. If you were lucky and scarfed it while it was a freebie good for you. But if you didn't it's a mere 99 cents and well worth it.