Award Winner in the 2016 Readers Favorite International Book Contest and the 2016 Shelf Media Best Indie Contest
Dylan Townsend stands on the beach watching commercial jets fall out of the sky like oak leaves twirling in the wind. A wing shears off the one closest to the shore just before it splashes down in the sea. Why was she telling him this outlandish story? What sort of tourist agency would offer people a front row seat to the end of the world? More importantly, why would anyone book such a vacation if there wasn't any way home afterward?
"Why would anyone buy a ticket on the Titanic if they knew it was doomed?"
"Relax Dylan," she assures him. "If you know it's going to sink, you could bring a raft."
As she paces in the sand watching the sky, he realizes that however wild her story may be, he loves her. Maybe Izzy is a time travel tour guide after all. In truth, he is more likely to be harmed by her boyfriend than the imminent apocalypse. What's he going to do about that sticky situation?
"Come on," she orders, pulling on his arm. "We need to see a man about a raft."
Disclaimer: This novel contains no profanity, some violence, an office princess in bondage, cowboy coffee, classic cars, love triangles, domestic violence, birthday cake, Lion Country Safari mishaps, beach volleyball, road rage, a prosthetic shotgun, text messages on gum wrappers, and the strong belief that people are a product of their experiences and not just genetically predisposed to mayhem.
Any resemblance to actual historical events or persons alive or dead is purely coincidental.
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"Don't ask questions you don't want the answers."
The author takes time to precede the opening chapters of his book to give his audience background information about E.M.P.s, and how just three strategically exploded nuclear devices could put out all of the lights in the U.S.A. He even commends to the reader a Government report about the dangers which was published on the same day as the one which investigated the happenings of 9/11 (and so was overlooked by the press).
And then the story begins...
From the very beginning the listener is drawn into a strange determination of a single female employee of some unknown facility, nuclear based, to blow up the building. All is set in motion but then she waits ... It will be a long time before we meet her again.
The scene changes as we are introduced to a teenaged boy, the main protagonist, named Dylan : and it is his life we follow as he is befriended by newly arrived neighbours with mysterious backgrounds, falls in love and survives the apocalypse. And discovers his neighbour's secrets.
It is a book of several parts, very unusual, mostly quite thrilling and not at all the usual story of total social breakdown found in most other post apocalyptic stories (although, inevitably, there are some such harrowing scenes). Plus, running through most of the book is the simple mystery - what does the person named as the Failsafe actually do?
The character building in Tourists of the Apocalypse is good, excellent in some cases - I especially enjoyed the development of Dicky, one of Dylan's near neighbours who had suffered brain damage as a youth. Yet somehow the people never really seemed to come fully to life, despite the best efforts of the marvellous J.Scott Bennett, whose narration was superb and each voicing individual and distinctive. An air of unreality seemed to hang over the central part of the story, as if the little group of individuals was somehow not part of the aftermath of the devestation. After the intriguing, exciting first hours, I found my attention wavering during this central section, only to be vigorously revived again in the latter part of the book. And the ending was superb.
So nearly a five star - for the originality, the different approaches, a sense of mystery, the absolutely thrilling chases towards the ending of the book, and even for the portrayal of Dylan and Dicky - yet for me it did not gel as seamlessly as a truly five star book should.
That said, it is an exceptionally good listen and my thanks go out to the rights holder who gifted me my copy, via Audiobook Boom. I would certainly recommend it to all post apocalyptic fans.
- Norma Miles