During the summer I prefer my reading in audio form and I followed my narrator from my last listen to my next listen. I like to do that, find authors or narrators that I enjoy and walk with them for a while. Kevin Pierce narrates Canine Plague. He also narrated One Man's Opus by Boyd Craven, my last review. I forgot to mention him then, but wanted to pay a little tribute here. Pierce does a very good job with the different characters, he has a pleasent voice that is easy to listen to, his pacing is right on target and his dialogue is inflective. Good job Mr. Pierce.
Now, on to my review of Canine Plague by Burt Walker. This novel is a conspiracy theorists dream (or nightmare). In this day and age, when it seems that there are hidden agendas driving politicians, it isn't hard to imagine a world where the powerful are willing to take extreme measure to move their agenda forward. Walker captures that beautifully. There is no catastrohpic event, no nuclear holocaust, no pandemic to decimate the population, no rising waters, volcanoes, earthquakes or meteors falling to earth that shifts the world from normal to not. I really appreciated that about this book, the simplicity and plausibility of the transition from before to after. I don't ever really believe a meteroite is going the hit us, and I really don't think a nuclear holocaust is on the horizon, even with all the bluster from certain sectors of the world. But I do believe that greed and power in a strong enough combination could send our country into a state of upheaval. There have been moments when I have felt the government is not working for the people, and that we are simply pawns to be manipulated to suit their needs. It's an uncomfortable feeling and much of the writing from this genre is inspired by that discomfort.
Burt Walker is a writer to watch. His pacing is fantastic. He moves the story along at a solid clip, without rushing. His charaters are developed and complex and his dialogue comes across as natural speech patterns. There are good guys and bad guys in this book, but nobody is painted with a broad stroke, there is definition in each character and the bad guys don't see themselves as bad guys. There are no caracatures here.
I reached out to the author, as I often do when I'm preparing a review and he told me that he wrote this book as a bucket list project, "on a whim." If this is what he writes on a whim, I'll be very excited to see his next offering.
As you might expect from a writer of post-apocolyptic, survivalist fiction, Walker has strong political opininions, and in general strong opinions on all sorts of things. A perusal of his blog was entertaining and enlightening. If your a fan of dystopian fiction you need to have Burt Walker on your radar.