The creatures die if exposed to sunlight and the open air so a new occupation has arisen: “wall-bangers” or “crackers.” These new entrepreneurs know about the making and setting of explosives to “crack” open infested buildings to make the accessible once again to humans when the blight infestation inside dies. The local populace can then raid the contents of the cracked building for essential items or those that can be used to trade for essentials.The only other way to obtain these goods is to coax a “runner” to race through the infested building, retrieve the needed treasures, and hopefully, escape with their life. A dangerous occupation, few runners survive their first or second attempts.
A third occupation linking the settlements of society’s survivors are the expressmen. Similar to the postal service, the expressmen travel the devastation between the colonies of survivors with letters and requests for runners and wall-bangers.The story follows the interactions of a wall-banger, a runner, and an expressman, and the different colonies they encounter in their part of the Pacific Northwest: the remnants of a college town, bandits, and an urban militia that has taken over an abandoned military base which happens to have a stockpile of much needed artillery and ammunition.
I thought the author’s take on the cause of society’s apocalyptic collapse – the infestation of the blight – unique and terrifying. We only get hints of what the creatures are like until the near end when a quick, horrifying description is given when the wall-banger, Mitch, has a near fatal face-to-face. I think the “not knowing” really gave the story a suspenseful edge.The characters backstories are sketchy at best and also lends something of an unknown quality to them and to the realism of the situation and their encounters with other groups. The book builds from a horror story to the suspense of a real thriller and ends in such a way as to leave room for sequels.
I recommend this story to anyone that likes post-apocalyptic tales. Explicit sexual references might offend some and would remove this from the young adult genre. A little time spent with an editor fine-tuning some spelling, word choices, and punctuation would really polish the final product.