Economic Collapse, Global Warming, Environmental disasters, illness, and special enforcement squads are many of the things often in the news and constantly talked about. What if much of this is true? How would we cope in a world where collapse is inevitable?
In No Away by Jim Wygant, the very world has become a nightmare of death and control. Adam Spence has done many things in his life he is not proud of including a few contract kills. Being a war veteran has not really prepared him for much, but he does the best he can to get by. When he makes a serious mistake he finds himself hunted by the new protectors of national security, a group that seems to see him as a huge threat. Running from these men that seem hellbent on finding him, he hides as best as he can. Trying to stay under the radar he meets a young barista who seems attracted to him. He is game, but does not understand her anger and finds her to be very short-fused. Little of that seems to matter though, as illness suddenly finds a hold. A strong flu-like illness is taking the lives of many, and fear is becoming more prevalent.
As the sickness takes over, whole populations are decimated. Soon only the strongest, those with the best survival skills begin to take charge. Even with all of the destruction, Adam finds he is still a target. Racing across the country with his barista friend and another of her friends who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, he finds that they are barely able to stay ahead of his pursuers. As different groups vie for charge, he finds himself caught in the middle, not knowing which way to turn. Can he elude his pursuers and save these women, or will they fall victim to the killers stalking the countryside. Will Adam find out what he knows that the others are so avidly wanting? With no one to be accountable to, who will ride herd on those now in power?
Wygant has given us a dystopian world with just a bit of a twist. While an illness is responsible for the destruction of the peoples of the world, he has given us a game of cat and mouse, which begins before the ending, and continues through the fall. His protagonist is very pragmatic and slightly flawed, with just a bit of jaded reality. He is racing to save two young women he does not know, and running from a group that he thought he understood. However with the fall of power, he no longer comprehends what they want from him.
His pursuers have him in their sights, and they too no longer seem to know exactly what they want, but they are more than willing to pay for information to find him. There is a strange bit of madness in their calculation, an almost zombie like fascination with Adam and what they think he knows. The chase and capture is what is important and they continue moving forward even as their original reasoning no longer makes sense. The world has changed and each must now prepare for a new future and yet they are still in a strange sway that continues to pull them to his whereabouts.
Wygant’s world is interesting, and his characters are just as desperate and unguided as would be expected. There is a challenge for leadership and many pushing themselves forward trying to be the strongest. They prey on others and yet feel that it is their right, they must be the survivors at all costs. Sadly in a world where all is lost, there are those who continue to prey on the weak and use their skills for their own ends.
If you enjoy a good end-of-the-world thriller you will enjoy No Away. The characters are strong and the setting is done well. The suspense keeps you turning the pages to see how it all ends. Wygant has written another solid performer.