The first third of this book is poorly written, especially the conversations. There is a third grade girl who sounds like a 60 year old man and a middle schooler who uses adult phraseology. Lots of extraneous wordage – we really don’t need to know the exact make and model of his company car (several times) or descriptions of foliage and room furnishings – that seems added solely to increase the number of words in the book. It does not add to the tension, give the scene added importance or add to the information either the reader or the character needs or wants.
However once the author hits his stride, the plot becomes clear, the tension and tempo increase and the story becomes the thriller that is promised. Alex and his family ride out an epidemic with a generous supply of food, energy, medical supplies and fire power while some of his neighbors are poorly provisioned. When refugees arrive that may be criminals, the conflict is set.
The map helps keep the location of friends and foes straight. Book groups will find the breakdown of civility, vigilante justice, the lack of food and medical support and the morality of adding your neighbor are all topics to generate lively discussion.