Brushfire Plague by R.P. Ruggiero is your tale of “Oh crap. I did not see this coming.” Sudden swine flu-like plague hits the world and the tenuous fabric of society takes a nasty tear.
The main character NOT a hero (neither a villain, very important distinction) is Cooper Adams. Married, one kid and regular Joe whose life gets shaken when the wife contracts Brushfire Plague and dies leaving him to take care of his young son and a world that is not the one he was subscribed.
When I say Cooper Adams is not a hero, is because what I liked about the book was precisely that Cooper is not a prepper or even worries about if there is enough milk in the fridge for tomorrow’s breakfast: he is just one normal Dad/Husband that is forced to take care of a new and awful business making mistakes along the way.
I found myself saying “Nope, you are doing that wrong. It’s gonna come back and bite you in the lumbar region” several times and that is when I realized that Cooper is a student on a steep learning curve thankfully aided by his neighbor and mentor Dranko who is the only one in the neighborhood with some wits and preps about the whole mess.
Another thing I liked about the book is the concept of community coming together to care and protect itself. I feel that sometimes the Prepper community is enamored with the idea of the lonesome Mad Max warrior, fending off for himself in the post apocalyptic world and shunning groups or gatherings. As virile as it sounds, humans are gregarious animals and need interaction and stimuli from each other or risk self-destruction. Even the archetypical Mountain man was not alone for long: he would interact with local indian tribes and even take on wives and have families. The concept of being alone was more advertising so people back at the civilized world wouldn’t be shocked. Nobody survives alone, Life happens and she is a cruel mistress.
About the only thing I did not like and that is because it is a very particular thing to me is the conspiracy slant. I understand that lots people need to know the “why” and it is easier to provide one, but sometimes stuff just “is” and we may never know the cause. But like I said it is my thing and does not detract from the book at all.
I got my copy for evaluation thanks to PrepperPress. At 278 pages it is not a long book to read. Think about it as a questionnaire to determine your preparedness baseline. Once you have the answers, start building on that.
PS: In case you haven’t noticed, I do not consider myself a Prepper. So do take my review with a block of salt.