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A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi. (In front of you, a precipice. Behind you, wolves.)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

PUSH Review

Jared Garrett is now one of my new favorite authors. He wrote a book called PUSH, which is the second of his series, which starts with BEAT (although there is a side story called Keepers that fits somewhere between BEAT and PUSH). I haven't read his other books yet, but I just bought them. I want to know how this story started.

Push flies by like a post apocalyptic comet, scattering rubble everywhere, causing calamities in its wake. Nik Granjer and his band of rebel outcasts spend the entire book running from impending doom. Somehow Nik, who seems to be around sixteen or so, is thrust into the role of de facto president, leading his raggle-taggle band to some kind of safety. 

Only there isn't any.

The monster, Adam Holland, has obliterated most of the non-compliant people in the world with a disease they call the Bug. He's after Nik and his keeper (gun) toting teens to end their trouble-making days. He sends the Ranjers out to round up families and friends, kidnapping and holding some for ransom, killing others indiscriminately. Holland's aim seems to be complete annihilation of the free-thinking human race in order to sweep the planet in preparation for his new breed of superhuman to take over.

Nik has to grow up at light speed, charged with making life or death decisions for all of the survivors. For some reason, he doesn't want to comply with Adam the freak. In fact, Nik is pretty torked that the Ranjers have taken his parents in order to keep him away from Holland. Unfortunately for the megalomaniac, he badly misreads the boy. Nik and his unit race to get ahead of the oncoming avalanche of superhuman cyborgs, (or whatever they are) staying only a toenail's length ahead of terrible doom.

None of this is easy. Nik and his people are damaged, hungry, exhausted, and mad as heck. Did I mention damaged? We're talking sieves here. But what's a guy to do when the lives of humankind are resting in his shaking, bloody hands? And it's not even that easy. He has to stop and prioritize. And those priorities rot.

This book has no sex or swearing (except the made-up kind). It does have lots of violence, sucking chest wounds, flying bullets, explosions, clones, newfangled gadgets, action, cyborgs, and a great setting. I love how Garrett has worked to imagine how San Francisco would look in 120 years, after a huge earthquake drops the elevation enough to flood the city during every high tide. It never fails to amaze me how fast roads can deteriorate, even now.

This book is believable. People actually get hurt and have to work around their wounds. Bad things happen to them that can't be fixed by some amazing band-aide fix that suddenly shows up right when they need it. Nothing works when it's supposed to. I love it.

In fact, I stayed up until two am trying to find out if they killed the bad guy or just one of his clones. I still don't know for certain.

Since it's part of a series and I was coming in in the middle of it, I would have liked a couple of clues at first that let me know what the Bug is, why Adam Holland is such a freak, and why Nik Granjer is the hinge on which the whole human race swings.

So now my only choice is to get the other books and fill in the empty spaces in the story.

My take on this? Five grenades out of five.
You can get PUSH at Amazon.
Thank you, Jared, for a fast, though bumpy, ride.

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