Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blog Tour/Review: Skylight by Kevin Hopkins

Skylight, by Kevin Hopkins
2014, 384p, Suspense Thriller
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

The catastrophe has been predicted for decades. But it arrives with a swiftness no one expects. On an otherwise beautiful October evening, the air at high altitudes suddenly becomes unbreathable, depleted of oxygen. The consequences are devastating.

In the United States alone, 12 million people die, almost instantly.

Energy executive Martin Fall is with his family in Denver on the day of The Catastrophe. Miraculously left alive, he begins the long journey home to Los Angeles, as society begins collapsing all around him. Within months, the city becomes an armed compound, teeming with 80 million migrants fleeing for the safety of lower altitudes. Fall is lost among them, struggling for a reason to go on.

But soon he has no choice. Trapped in a web of lies from those he trusted, allied with others he barely knows, he must risk his life for a technology he scarcely comprehends—one that may be the world’s only salvation.

We first meet Martin Fall, who along with his wife, Jeannie and daughter, Cassie, are visiting their friends, Ray and Sara and their daughter, Darby, who live in Denver. We know right away that something terrible is going to happen. Martin and his family are preparing to head back to Los Angeles the next day, and have just finished a barbeque and are at the soccer field for Darby's game. Suddenly, people start falling to the ground. Some are barely breathing and others stop. At the end of the evening, out of the six of them, only Martin and Darby are left alive. Martin knows he needs to get back to LA and when he starts to realize the enormity of what has happened, he's not sure how he's going to get there.

Time moves ahead 10 months and Martin is living in the slums, digging ditches for a sewage network. He is approached by a former colleague to come back to help solve a major problem. He agrees and then has to figure out who to trust if he wants to be alive in the end.

This is a hard book for me to summarize. The plot is complex and I had to re-read parts to make sure I understood what was going on. We find out about the missing 10 months in flashback and how Martin and Darby were able to get from Denver to Los Angeles. We also learn that Darby is no longer with Martin and the flashbacks fill in the holes.

It's an intense read that I would have to put down for a while to digest. When I got about halfway in, though, the action picked up and the stakes became higher and it was hard to put down. Martin is someone who cares about people and is a true hero. He wants life to be better for everyone and will do what it takes to insure that happens. He knows the big players in town and sees the way they live in comparison to everyone else. He also learns about their desire to control everyone's lives and I loved the conversations he had with some of them because he was able to ask questions I've wondered about myself. 

This is the kind of book that I will enjoy reading again because I can pick up on things that I missed the first time around since I already know how it will end. In the Author's Note, Mr. Hopkins says this book originated from a desire to find a solution to the environmental issues we are faced with. He has heard both sides of the debate and nobody is focused on a solution. What if there was something that would satisfy both sides of the argument: What if we could find a solution that preserved both our planetary environment and our personal freedom and prosperity. (You can read more about his thoughts on this here.) This is a great suspenseful read, free of profanity, that will get your heart pounding and keep you guessing on who to trust until the very end.

Meet the Author:

Kevin Hopkins is the director of energy and environmental research for The Communications Institute, a Los Angeles-based think tank. He previously served as director of the White House Office of Policy Information, where he advised the President of the United States on economic, energy, and environmental policy, and also was senior policy counsel to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. He has published several books on U.S. economic and social policy, including “The Catastrophe Ahead” and “Poverty and Welfare Dependency,” and served for 20 years as a senior contributing editor to Business Week magazine. Skylight is his first novel.


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