by Peter Heller

Reviewer Rating:


Hands down one of the best novels of 2012. Nine years after a flu pandemic has practically wiped out humanity, a few survivors deal with the collapse of civilization. Written in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style, the book gets inside the head of Hig, a pilot who lives in a hanger at the airport in Erie, Colorado. Although he is lonely, Hig has created a sort of life for himself, forging a partnership with his only neighbor, a hard-core survivalist who shoots intruders on sight. His only joy comes from the daily flights he makes in his Cessna, patrolling the area around the airport to keep watch for roving bands of marauders. When he receives a transmission from an airport on the western slope, Hig faces a choice: maintain his routine or risk everything to make contact with other survivors. This book manages to be not only action-packed and suspenseful, but also contemplative and deeply moving. Local author Peter Heller has crafted beautiful passages that describe the joys of aviation and the lovely but hauntingly empty landscape of a post-apocalyptic Colorado.


Excellent book! I'm not quite through it yet - had to return it at one point but have it back and will finish over the holiday weekend.

Thanks for the comment, Midge. Did you get a chance to read the end? What did you think?

Haunting, spell-binding, poignant, disturbing -- it's the best novel I've read in years. The geographical familiarity is gratifying, but the story line will stick with you. I simply loved it, and bought it after reading. Peter Heller deserves the revenue for this one. :)

I agree! Thanks for commenting.

I had the book on hold and was one of the first people to read it when it when the library first put it on the shelf. The premise of the story was great. I liked that it had a Denver (and other CO locations) setting. I also liked the protagonist pilot and his relationship with his dog. However, I thought the book just missed the mark as far as the unfolding story was concerned. There were too many elements of the story I found to be less than rational or adequately explained. (Yeah, I know it's dystopian science fiction) But a couple of other complaints of mine that has increasingly bothered me (about several authors, actually) in recent years is the lack of the use of quotation marks to indicate the spoken word as opposed to private thoughts, and the attribution of dialogue to the individual speakers. It made the story unnecessarily more difficult to follow.

Yeah, I can respect that. I also had a problem with the lack of quotation marks at first, but I found the main character to be so engaging and likable that I forgot about the odd punctuation after awhile. In the end it worked for me, but I can see how the unconventional style could take you right out of the story. Thanks for your comment!

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