Reviewer Sandra Shwayder Sanchez: Sandra is
a retired attorney and co-founder of a small non-profit publishing
collective: The Wessex Collective with whom she has published two short fiction collections
(A Mile in These Shoes and Three Novellas) and one
Her most recent novel, The Secret of A Long Journey is soon to be released by Floricanto Press in April 2012 and her first novel, The Nun, originally published by Plain View Press in 1992 is being reissued in a 2nd Edition with additional material by PVP in March 2012.
Publisher: Ulysses Press
Told from the perspective of a young man, college educated with no prospects (duh) during a time of collapse in the not too distant future (for some folks, I guess we could make that the present). He evolves from an astute albeit somewhat sarcastic commentator on social injustice and political ineptitude to a vigilante killer preventing and sometimes avenging crimes. His first kill is rash and accidentally successful when he guts a pedophile with a gardening trowel. He gets off on knowing that because of him, the guy will never hurt another kid. Later, after being beaten by a gang within an inch of his life, he undergoes some training before joining forces with an unofficial policeman.
The narrator’s descriptions of the hero’s kills are graphically violent and could be offensive in a different context. But even as I warn readers to expect a lot of violence, I would ask readers to consider this question: should “violence” be defined by its method or by its intended results? And having asked that I would then ask readers to examine how some powerful and greedy people wielding pens instead of swords can drive people from their homes, deprive workers of their livelihoods (or exploit them by overworking and underpaying them) and send yet others off to wield or die by that proverbial sword, (or just come home from foreign wars damaged and neglected), all for the purpose of obscene profits at the expense of working people. Are these not acts of violence given the results for their victims?
American Apocalypse is an all too realistic portrait of what awaits a nation at the end of a slippery slope created by a government that caves in to or, worse, actively caters, to the immorally greedy corporate interests that manage to loot the people of America without resort to guns or swords, their weapon of choice being the simple power of wealth. We embarked upon this slippery slope decades ago and there were minor ups and downs and delays until W kicked us over a cliff and a climb back up from the current abyss will be arduous if even possible. Maybe the chickens who routinely vote for Colonel Sanders need to read this book and think about what they really want from our elected leaders. I highly recommend this book be read immediately before or after a (re)reading of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. The combination packs a serious intellectual wallop. I understand there is a sequel and I am eager to read it. This author, in telling like it like it could be, is also reminding us of how it is.