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Cannibal Reign by Thomas Koloniar
Review by Steve Sawicki
Harper Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780062025821
Date: 26 June 2012 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

An asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and when astronomer Marty Chittenden spots it he immediately tries to spread the word. What he discovers is that the government already knows disaster is about to happen and is keeping it quiet. At the same time, Green Beret Jack Forrest and some of his Green Beret buddies have been given this information and have begun stocking up a retired missile silo--stocking up with food and women.

Elsewhere life continues in ignorance, at least until one of the astronomers that Marty managed to pass the info to lets the information out. Then it's every person for themselves. And when the asteroid hits, transforming the world into a nightmare place of ash, dust, smoke, darkness, and chaos, all bets are off about what, exactly, is needed for survival.

Jack and his merry band exist just fine underground, at least until they are discovered by cannibals led by an AWOL Colonel. Marty is running for his life, bouncing from place to place, barely surviving and getting some hard lessons in just what is needed to get from day to day. Finally he manages to hook up with Shannon Emory who is military but was captured and raped by bikers, then kept as their pet. In the end they all manage to be in the same place, at the same time, looking to be rescued by the remains of the Naval Fleet now based solely out of Hawaii.

Thomas Koloniar is a retired police officer and this is his first novel. It's a very well written first novel in terms of plot, pace, and concept. The story is well crafted, the characters are interesting, and the book moves along at a fairly fast pace, always keeping the action front and center. The book does read a bit like a man's fantasy of the end times though, with the main character Jack Forest, strong jawed, democratic (until it comes time for him to make the right decision and then it does not matter what anyone else thinks), and surrounded by adoring women, including one who sets up a sexual encounter for him and then shrugs it off because it was just the right thing to do. Like I said, this is a man's fantasy future--plenty of guns, lots of opportunity to prove oneself, and women who shudder just to be around you.

I enjoyed the book, regardless of the occasional twinges I got from the cave man perspective. It is very well written for a first novel and the basic concept definitely produces a page turner. The overall feel is of high adventure with a moderate amount of tension where you are never quite sure what is going to happen next. Unless you are going to be fully put off by the obvious he-man perspective you will enjoy this. Recommended.

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