First I wanted to love this book, then I hated it, then I loved it.I read this at the recommendation of my friend Paula-the first selection of our “Go Bag Book Club.” If you don’t know what a go bag is, then you likely won’t survive an apocalyptic event, a pandemic, the downfall of civilization, whichever doomsday scenario you like. If you’ve followed my reviews here then you probably have heard me go on and on about how I like post apocalyptic books, but hated The Road. Basically I can’t stand it when the author presumes that when a catastrophic event or series of events happens, that man will revert to a primitive state of killing and random violence, including cannibalism. I just can’t believe that the majority of mankind is only a full grocery store or functioning government away from becoming a random killing machine. Paula says, ” I say if no one is gettin’ eaten, it ain’t worth readin.'” Which cracks me up. And I totally loved Dies the Fire, which did have a few crazies eating other people (and also recommended by Paula, so I should have known she wouldn’t steer me wrong.)
So anyway, I loved the first chapter of this book, in which Mortimer Tate comes out of his cave on a mountain, where he’s been hiding for 9 years, and descends the mountain to find out what has happened to civilization and what has become of the wife (separated) he left behind. What he finds is pretty dreadful and by the end of chapter 2 he’s witnessed some brutal raping, been drunkenly beat, and had a finger cut off. That’s when I said, “UGH!” and put it down. But when I picked it up a mere page later I was finding myself getting more interested and invested in Mortimer’s survival.
Bill saves Mortimer’s life, and thus becomes his friend and ally in this strange new world. Bill introduces him to Joey Armageddon’s Sassy a Go Go, a “chain” of places that are hotel, saloon, and general store all in one. Armageddon dollars are the only thing accepted and it’s pretty much the only way to get anything. Oh, and naked chicks dance in cages and are available as whores, too. Mortimer finds out that his ex-wife, Anne, was a Joey girl, but has moved on to another location. Determined to find her, and now a “Platinum” member of Joey Armageddon’s, Mortimer and Bill get aboard a hand cranked train to find her. Cannibals, crazy people, violence, it’s all there. But so is an absolute ton of humor and adventure. I know, it doesn’t sound like it could be funny, but it is! Mortimer is a great character and it’s unbelievable how kick-ass he is. Bill and Mortimer are caught up in not just their own survival, but also a plan to possibly remake civilization.
The chase scene final battle ending is awesome, and then, to make it even better for me, an epilogue!! I really liked this a lot, so thank you Paula! And, should society ever collapse like it does in this book, I think we can all agree that I won’t survive long.