Westley Flagg continues to tell us his story of survival with his grandparents on their farm after a CME has caused what is believed to be a nationwide or possibly worldwide blackout. Things haven’t really changed all that much on the farm. It’s the world around them that is devolving rather quickly.
Craven’s second novel in the Still Surviving series, All Dark expands upon Wes’ relationship with Jess while following the unspeakable actions of the horde living at the Crater of Diamonds. When he finds out that Jess’ group will do nothing more than watch as atrocities are committed he knows that he must do something on his own. And, that may put his life at risk.
While the story is intriguing Craven has so many typos and contextual errors it is distracting. All his books seem to be this way. I truly don’t understand why he doesn’t use an editor or at least a beta reading group to help him out.
3 out of 5 stars.
Rick and Tina Carpenter are in for another disastrous adventure. It seems no matter where they go trouble follows. With their 2-year-old son, fur babies, and friend Annette they take off to Florida for a cruise. Fate not only tests their bugout and prep skills but their will to survive.
Craven’s third novel in the One Man’s Opus series, Opus Adventure: A Survival and Preparedness Story is much different than most books in this genre. The German Shepherds have chapters where what they are thinking is played out. It is also about a local apocalyptic event that lasts mere days instead of years.
The two main characters have grown as their lives have changed and merged. They are fighting their personal demons and winning. The challenges that are thrown at them wreak havoc with their lives and threaten them with great harm and near death.
Unfortunately, the story buildup is too slow. I kept reading and reading waiting to see where it was heading. It also had too many possible mistakes. These two keep me from giving it 5 or even 4 stars.
3 out of 5 stars.
Westley Flagg has grown up in poverty on his grandparents’ farm. His Grandpa’s moonshining barely kept the family going. It is what nurtured Wes’ interest in chemistry to wit he garnered a college degree. After a solar storm takes down most of the grid will any of it matter for them to survive?
Craven’s first novel in the Still Surviving series, Blackout provides an in-depth look into the underworld of moonshining. With what Wes has learned in college he has been able to streamline and much improve the distilling process. To Wes, this is mostly a hobby. But, when he cuts off one of his more questionable customers he finds himself up against the worst of mankind.
It was difficult for me to get into this book as it spent the better portion of the first third explaining the process of moonshining. Once past that the pace picked up and the story started developing. Wes’ character is fully developed and quite interesting. He is always skirting the edge of the law but not in areas that are harmful to others.
There are several typos and contextual errors that I hope are cleaned up by the time you read the book. It is not a stand-alone book and ends with a heart-wrenching cliffhanger.
4 out of 5 stars.
Rick Carpenter has made the decision to marry Tina. The values instilled in him by his father demand that Rick seek approval from Tina’s father first. Deciding to make the trip to meet Tina’s parents into an adventure the couple along with the ever vigilant, Opus, head out sharing their experiences on Facebook.
Trying to anticipate every possible hazard along the way is nearly impossible. And, while Rick thought he was well-prepared life keeps throwing him new challenges. He seems to attract bad luck. The only good thing about this situation is that Tina is on board with him every step of the way.
To add to their troubles an adversary from their past is released from jail and threatening messages keep popping up. Strange stuff shows up on his computer leading Rick to believe he’s been hacked. Does he have a deranged fan stalking him? Is the former jailbird harassing him?
Craven’s second novel in the One Man’s Opus series, Opus Odyssey: A Survival and Preparedness Story, picks up a year after the first book. Rick and Tina have become serious, Opus has finally healed from his wounds, and they all three are ready to take on a new heading in their lives.
While Rick’s fans are loving the video shorts on Facebook about their trip, someone much more nefarious is using them to track Rick and Tina down. A violent confrontation sends Rick, Tina, and Opus out into the desert with little more than the clothes on their backs.
Their attacker has made it perfectly clear that he has no fear of dying. Can Rick and Tina escape his relentless pursuit and find help? And, what is his motive? Is Opus able to save his humans?
Rick wants to be a prepper, yet he has a lot to learn about situational awareness. He’s finding out that it isn’t just about what you have. Because if you don’t have it when you need it, then it isn’t doing you a bit of good.
This book isn’t quite up to the same level as the first. Prepping was mentioned but seemed to take a backseat to Rick and Tina’s romance. Most of the story is about Rick building up the courage to talk to Tina’s father.
4 out of 5 stars.
Dick has fought his addiction with the help of the compound doctor. He agrees to help Steve and his deputies get a better handle on their security setup. But, no matter what he does death and destruction follow. And, it seems that Steve and Jamie have secrets. Now, all Dick wants is to get to Arkansas.
Craven’s third book in the Out Of The Dark series, The Devil’s Due, is fraught with obstacles for Dick at every turn. Those that he seeks to help want to kill him. Heck, everyone seems to want to kill him. It has been that way since the very beginning of this series.
The ending is definitely a twist that I didn’t see coming even with all the clues that Craven sprinkled throughout these books. I’m sure he meant for it to be a shocker, but I found it to be a disappointment. That’s what happens when I want a certain ending and get something entirely different. Good series. And, I like the way it dovetails into the same story world as The World Burns series.
4 out of 5 stars.
The desire to reunite with his ex-wife, Mary, and their daughter, Maggie, is the driving force that has Dick and his companions leaving Chicago. Dick has promised to get Jamie and her daughter, Mel, home to their family in Nebraska. Courtney and Luis have invited themselves along in hopes of making it to Texas. With the area of Chicago they are leaving somewhat under control, the group faces new and unspeakable horrors along their journey.
Craven’s second book in the Out Of The Dark series, The Devil’s Road, is a fast-paced, hard-hitting adventure rich with challenges and new characters. Dick’s character is brought face-to-face with the worst parts of his past.
This book was emotionally draining for me. I truly felt for Dick and the tortuous fate he endured. I hope book three brings him peace.
5 out of 5 stars.
Dick is a Marine, aka a Devil Dog. He is suffering from PTSD and has been living in the tunnels of Chicago since before the EMP sent society into chaos. He also has a good heart and will fight for what is right and just. As a result, he has a collection of children surviving with him that he has rescued from the gangs that would sell them into slavery.
Craven’s first book in the Out Of The Dark series, Devil Dog, highlights some of the demons that a post-war veteran has to fight within themselves. It’s a gritty tale and shows some of the worst of mankind’s actions when there is no rule of law. Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” But, what happens when good men do something?
All of Craven’s books are short reads but pack a powerful punch. Looking forward to book number two in the series.
5 out of 5 stars.