Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2020
Final Days is a Sci-fi mystery thriller, that is action packed and moves at a pace that makes the Fast and the Furious look like they have taken Miss Daisy out for a drive.
It has two main streams, the first follows Kendra Baker, a Detective who is has been on the job for a while and knows her stuff. The type of veteran cop that is willing to listen, but if you push them too far, they have no problem pushing back.
She starts looking into multiple missing cases, at a time when no one else is interested, because there are constant news reports, media hype, and general public unrest about siesmic activity along the San Andreas fault line, and a subsequent massive flow on effect, people evacuating, panicking, the usual things you expect.
With little or no support, Kendra is left to her own devices to follow up on all these missing persons, as even the Police are leaving, and those that remain, are being tasked with things deemed more important than missing persons.
The second main character is Andrew Miller, an ex-Marine, now divorced, who is just trying to get on with things. During his story, his daughter, Valeria, goes missing, and Andrew starts hunting for his Daughter, even though the rest of the coast is leaving and moving inland.
This is a really intriguing and fascinating story, you have no real idea about what is going on, why are people missing? What is this countdown? Are the rumours of a mass siesmic ‘end of the world’ type event true??
And in the middle of all of this, we have Andrew and Kendra, both trying to look for missing people, One a desperate Father looking for his little girl, the other a determined Cop, who, in the face of everyone else abandoning their post, she just won’t give up on these people – basically following the same leads in similar circles, and both of them coming up with increasingly more frightening answers.
The character work in this book is beyond exceptional, it is so realistic, that there is a particular part in which Andrew Miller, the ex-marine, has a flashback PTSD episode. The detail in the scene, the description of his attack and how he feels, what he goes through at that exact moment, it was so realistic, that as someone who actually suffers from a similar form of PTSD, I had to actually stop reading for a bit as the book had a physical effect on me. This is how good the story is.
His Daughter, Valeria helps him through this particular episode, helps him pull back from the pain he is suffering, and this to was exceptionally well written, like they had climbed inside someone who suffers the illnesses head.
This is one of those stories in which when you finish, you are left sitting thinking about the Characters for a good couple of days afterwards, they are incredibly powerful and emotive with real grit.
There are some other really great characters, including Miller’s Wife, and Valeria’s Mum, who again, is portrayed with brilliant accuracy as the emotional Mother, terrified for her Daughter in the face of a country that is falling to pieces around her. Her new husband (Valeria’s parents are separated), is a rich sleaze, and his character is just funny.
There are several others I am not going to mention as I don’t want to give away spoilers, but each character in this book is done with a purpose, has backstory and depth, and has been thought through. The character work is just outstanding and is a real highlight of this book.
Both Authors have also given a lot of attention to simple details as well, such as the type of weapon that the Officer carries, and making sure that they had extra ammunition (they run out of ammo to, no never ending ammo clips).
It’s this attention to detail that creates an additional layer to an already masterful level of character driven story telling, and makes this so much fun, as there is a level of realism to it that makes it so much more enjoyable.
This is a story that is utterly intriguing, from the very first pages, where it starts to build, rumours in the background, we move between the two major streams so that we can see there is something going on, but no one knows what, and to the common person, they are just bits of talk on TV, until suddenly Miller’s Daughter goes missing, and the story ramps up to full speed, and you are flicking through pages to see what happens next…
If you want a really fun, exciting, action-packed thrill ride, with a powerfully emotive, character driven story, Hystad and Scott have got the book for you, and they don’t disappoint!