Book Review – Lights Out by David Crawford

Book Review – Lights Out by David Crawford

Mark Turner didn’t curse often, but he was pissed. It wasn’t the fact that the lights went out that upset him. They did that three or four times a year in this older, industrial section of town. What bothered him was the fact that the uninterrupted power supply hadn’t kept his computer running, and he had lost over an hour’s worth of work. He needed tech support to send him a new UPS, so he picked up the phone and dialed their number with the help of the dim glow of the emergency lights. Nothing. He hung the phone up and then picked it up again, putting it up to his ear this time. There was no dial tone.

Premise: An EMP strikes the United States and society collapses, turning neighbors into survivalists as they struggle to adjust to a world without power or technology.

If you are a fan of One Second After, this is a great book to read that deals with the same type of scenario hitting the world.  Like that book, this also deals with your everyday people adjusting and surviving to life without power.  The story follows various people with the main storyline centered around your average suburban subdivision with plenty of colorful characters along the way.

This novel had its roots the way many new writers do these days, by self publishing Lights Out in PDF format.  Then the rights were purchased later and officially published.  If you have only read the original self-published version of Lights Out, you are in for a treat when you read the published version.

One of the strong points of this novel is that these are “Joe and Jane Average” citizens instead of “Joe and Jane Prepper” that many of the books of this genre are.  While they may have skills, they aren’t automatically attuned to be able to react and deal with every SHTF situation, so you actually learn a great deal as you read.

But, even as an EMP takes out all electronics and the power grid, there are points that I wonder if it is realistic or not.  The fact grocery stores are still somewhat operational seems a bit far fetched when you think about all electronics being nonoperational.

…Ladies and Gentlemen, the Vice-President of the United States.
My fellow Americans, as you know, an hour and three minutes ago, the power went out. Also affected were most of the communication and transportation systems in the continental United States, most of Canada, and parts of Mexico. This seems to the effect of a large EMP burst.

There is a great sense of community in this one, as the Silver Hills subdivision bands together to deal with the crisis and protect their homes and each other.   They block off the entrance of the subdivision and form schedules for standing guard.  There is also a great lesson about seeds for growing vegetables, as many people don’t realize hybrid seeds cannot be saved for replanting.

The characters are pretty strong and many will become beloved as you read and you definitely get invested in their characters as they face each new danger.  Even the supporting characters are great – I personally loved Gunny, their neighbor and former Gunnery Sergeant and resident conspiracy theorist.

This is another great “intro to prepping” novel to give family and friends you are hoping would get more interested in preparing for the unknown.

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