First of all, how cool is that cover?
Dr. Arthur Bradley has done his homework and it really shows in this novel, the first in a series. A virus, dubbed Superpox-99, has raced across the country, leaving the population decimated. There is little in the way of law and order remaining. U.S. Deputy Marshal Mason Raines happened to be visiting his old cabin stuck way out in the boonies and managed to miss all the excitement. While Raines might not refer to himself as a “prepper,” he has all the knowledge and gear one might expect. His cabin is well-stocked and provisioned to last a long time. Raines is, or was, a firearms instructor and is very adept with shooting, a skill he makes use of several times within the story.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
As I mentioned, Raines was on holiday by himself when the collapse occurred. Upon heading for home, he quickly learns something major has happened as he comes across vehicles containing corpses. Raines ends up finding a small degree of solace in a little town struggling against a gang. Along the way, he also makes friends with an Irish Wolfhound and they become partners of a sort, watching out for one another in their journey.
Running parallel to the main story is a subplot involving a convicted killer who has been released from prison by a guard he befriended. There is much more to this character than we see at first glance. He rescues a young girl, a very important young girl, and promises to keep her safe.
THE SURVIVALIST: FRONTIER JUSTICE grabs your attention at the first page and doesn’t let up until you hit the back cover. The action scenes are described in just enough detail that the reader can easily follow them, without becoming massive info dumps describing each weapon down to the serial number and the names of the guys who worked the assembly line the day the weapon was manufactured. Raines is quite believable, with motivations and skills that seem actually human rather than coming across as some sort of superhero. Each of the other primary characters are fleshed out very well, allowing the reader to actually care what happens to them.
The dialogue throughout rings very true. Few, if any, long, dramatic “Do it for the Gipper” type speeches.
All in all, I very much enjoyed THE SURVIVALIST: FRONTIER JUSTICE and am eagerly awaiting the next in the series. Dr. Bradley writes with a practiced hand, quite unlike much of what passes for “prepper fiction” today. The story was obviously edited very well, so the book is not rife with typos and such. A very welcome change of pace, I can assure you.
This book will appeal to all fans of post-apocalyptic fiction as well as those who just want a great, action-oriented tale.