Title: A Quiet Apocalypse
A Quiet Apocalypse Book 1
by Dave Jeffery
Genres: Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian
A Quiet Apocalypse
A Quiet Apocalypse Book 1
Demain Publishing, January 2020
From the author—
The end is hear…
A mutant strain of meningitis has wiped out most of mankind. The few who have survived the fever are now deaf.
Bitter with loss and terrified to leave the city known as Cathedral, the inhabitants rely on The Samaritans, search teams sent out into the surrounding countryside. Their purpose, to hunt down and enslave the greatest commodity on Earth, an even smaller group of people immune to the virus, people who can still hear.
People like me.
My name is Chris.
This is my story.
“A Quiet Apocalypse is told from the perspective of ex-schoolteacher Chris, a hearing survivor. He has lost everything, including his freedom, and through his eyes we learn of what it is like to live as a slave in this terrible new world of fear and loss. I was keen to write a piece that preyed upon people’s traditional misconceptions of deafness as an illness, and the imposition of ‘hearing’ norms. It is a story that has poignancy in any understanding of the struggles of minority groups.” – Author, Dave Jeffery
With an unusual premise, A Quiet Apocalypse takes us on a post-apocalyptic journey thrust on mankind by a pandemic that leaves most survivors with a complete loss of hearing. Mr. Jeffery uses this concept to shine a light on disabilities in general and on the peculiar kind of slavery that comes about when the few who can still hear become a target for the government. Are the hearing now considered disabled in a twist on human reaction to being “different” or do certain factions see them as less worthy than the deaf?
Chris is a very sympathetic character while his vicious captor, Crowley, decidedly is not and here again the author makes much of the opportunity to focus our attention on humanity’s ability to build hatred and intolerance towards those who don’t fit a preconceived mold. Yes, the story is dark and, in its way, horrific but certainly reflects much of what is going on in our world today and is well worth everyone’s attention.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2021.
Dave Jeffery is author of 15 novels, two collections, and numerous short stories. His Necropolis Rising series and yeti adventure Frostbite have both featured on the Amazon #1 bestseller list. His YA work features critically acclaimed Beatrice Beecham supernatural mystery series and Finding Jericho, a contemporary mental health novel that was featured on the BBC Health and the Independent Schools Entrance Examination Board’s recommended reading lists. A third edition of this book will be released by Demain Publishing in 2020.
Jeffery is a member of the Society of Authors, British Fantasy Society (where he is a regular book reviewer), and the Horror Writers Association. He is also a registered mental health professional with a BSc (Hons) in Mental Health Studies and a Master of Science Degree in Health Studies.
Jeffery is married with two children and lives in Worcestershire, UK.
See the girl in the trees. Catch her if you can.
Several centuries ago, a group of ecologists escaped the breakdown of a society ravaged by climate change by vanishing into giant, genetically engineered forests in the North American west. Dwelling among vast canopies that hover several thousand feet above the earth, their descendants fear the cannibals roaming far beneath them and cling to the teachings of their sacred text, The Book of Silvanus.
Sixteen year-old Ostrya considers it a burden to train as the canopy’s next doctor. But her life’s work has been preordained—and she’s desperate to reclaim her mother’s love. When a cataclysmic storm wracks the canopy, Ostrya begins to face her doubts about the teachings of the book and the laws of the canopy. If she is to survive, she will have to decide if her destiny is in the treetops or on the forest floor…
D.M. Darroch is the author of the Inventor-in-Training series as well as other speculative fiction stories. Her books weave together nature and science with adventure and often a touch of humor. Danelle lives in Washington State, USA and enjoys long walks in the forest. Her website is: https://www.dmdarroch.com.
Tour created by YA Bound Book Tours
Ariel S. Winter
Emily Bestler Books/Atria, November 2020
From the publisher—
The near future has been decimated by plague (sound familiar?), and the human population is now a minority. Robots—complex AIs almost indistinguishable from humans—are the ruling majority. Nine months ago, in a controversial move, the robot government opened a series of preserves, designated areas where humans can choose to live without robot interference. Now the preserves face their first challenge: someone has been murdered.
Chief of Police Jesse Laughton on the SoCar Preserve is assigned to the case. He fears the factions that were opposed to the preserves will use the crime as evidence that the new system does not work. As he digs for information, robots in the outside world start turning up dead from bad drug-like programs that may have originated on SoCar land. And when Laughton learns his murder victim was a hacker who wrote drug-programs, it appears that the two cases might be linked. Soon, it’s clear that the entire preserve system is in danger of collapsing. Laughton’s former partner, a robot named Kir, arrives to assist on the case, and they soon uncover shocking secrets revealing that life on the preserve is not as peaceful as its human residents claim. But in order to protect humanity’s new way of life, Laughton must solve this murder before it’s too late.
There’s nothing much more satisfying than a good police procedural in a futuristic setting and this book filled my craving quite nicely. The idea of humanity taking a back seat to robots quite peacefully and without a war going on is intriguing in itself and I applaud the author for making the scenario work naturally.
Character development takes precedence over plot although the murder investigation is well done and left me wondering for a long while. The relationships here are the real story, those between Jesse and his wife, the two of them and their child and, most compelling, Jesse and Kir. The latter is a dynamic partnership that evokes a real friendship between man and machine and I want to know much more. I really hope there will be a sequel to continue and expand the tale.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2020.
…one of the last human police officers must use the creativity
bots haven’t yet discovered how to mimic in order to solve the crime.
— “The Most Anticipated Crime Books of Fall” CrimeReads
Series: Simp, Book 1
Author: Dena Nicotra
Narrator: Kendra Murray
Publication Date: July 1, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction
From the author—
Nothing simple is real. You will look twice at people…and technology.
The idea of making life simple appealed to the mainstream. After the economic collapse of the 21st century, the government latched on to technology like an economic lifeline. Bio-synthetic humanoids integrated into society with relative ease. Taking on the menial jobs, humans grew dependent on their android counterparts, but the corporate sector took things too far. Wrapped in their one-click comfort zones, people trudged along with their lattes and fashion trend blinders.
The dark side of genetic engineering is a harsh reality. Humans are being hunted. They don’t stand a chance.
No one seemed to notice that they weren’t acting as hospitable as they once had. They should have. They didn’t have weaknesses like we did, and, they were capable of clever, unimaginable cruelty.
Those that have survived call the rogue bio-synthetic humanoids “simps” because the company that started the mess had a cheesy marketing campaign that said they made life “Simple”. They couldn’t have been more wrong. When the war broke out, simps were used to spare human losses. It was viewed as a brilliant solution until a developer working for the enemy infected the simps with a virus that caused them to turn on the humans they served. They couldn’t shut them down fast enough.
Hailey Pachello doesn’t do people. She relies on herself because it’s easier. It’s safer, and it’s less dramatic. That is until she meets Leonard ‘Gizzard’ O’Malley. Giz has connections and a plan, and it might just be a good one.
Join Hailey as she embarks on her wondrous adventure, in a timeless, powerful, and memorable cyberpunk thriller.
Fans of Isaac Asimov will appreciate this fast past thriller, although the three laws of robotics never applied to simps! This cyberpunk tale is set in the year 2038.
Ever since our first stay-at-home started, along about mid-March, I’ve had trouble getting much satisfaction out of reading and I know I’m not alone. I hear about it online and in Zoom book club meetings and it’s really frustrating; as best as I can explain it in my own case, it seems to be an inability to focus, to really get involved with what I’m reading. With only a handful of exceptions, most books have struck me as lackluster and, while I know the problem is me, not the books (for the most part), the end result is the same.
Then along came Simple and, oh my, Dena Nicotra, aided by Kendra Murray’s fine narration, has taken me to a place I’ve missed—booklove. Can I point to anything in particular? No, I just got completely caught up with a terrific plot and characters who grabbed my attention, brought to vivid life by Ms. Murray’s distinct voices and spot-on sense of pacing. Ms. Nicotra’s worldbuilding is pretty darned good, too—I’d like to know more about how people first became so dependent on androids but the author gave enough background that I didn’t really feel a lack.
Lee (Hailey) is a young woman I would love to know in real life, complex with a backbone of steel and a desire to not have to care about anybody. She fails at that but she also has the intelligence and street smarts to survive in this war against droids gone bad and, when she falls in with Mic and Giz, the action starts to ramp up seriously. Then there’s my next favorite character, Two, and a passel of bad guys who also just happen to be full of personality. Oh, and by the way, Ms. Murray’s interpretation of Sonya is, well, perfect.
Technically, this book could be a standalone but I want more so I’m very happy to know there’s a sequel, Real. Now I just need to hope there will be an audio edition…soon.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2020.
Dena Nicotra was born in Southern California and grew up between the busy city and a small town in Arkansas. She is a copywriter, freelance journalist, and holds a degree in Communications. She currently lives in a small desert town in California with her husband and one very spoiled little dog.
She’s mom to two grown sons that she calls her sun and moon. When she’s not writing, she can be found in the kitchen cooking up something special for family and friends.
Kendra performed in numerous plays in high school and college, and directed a play for her senior project, which earned her the school Drama Cup. She apprenticed at, and managed the Box Office of the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass. She performed, produced and directed radio plays with Petaluma Radio Players. Kendra narrates audiobooks across many genres, as solo narrator and as duet narrators with her husband, Ralph Scott, all available on audible.com. She frequently “speaks” in character voices for her dog, Gandalf, and her cats, Merlin and Saffira. She has two young adult children and a stepdaughter. Kendra is an avid knitter and spinner, and is very crafty.
Author: K. Maze
Publication Date: June 25, 2020
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
From the publisher:
Trapped underground with a mysterious scientist named Edison and his chess master AI, can Nala Nightingale find the will to live and to love in a dystopian future?
Set in post-pandemic Wind City, a young journalist races time against a certain natural destruction. Nala must decide between broadcasting the news of a lifetime or discovering keys to her orphaned past.
As an intern, Nala wants badly to prove her self as a real journalist, not just a broadcaster of fluffy pieces and, on a seemingly normal day, she heads for Intercambio 7 to make her pitch for an important story but she never gets to tell her boss about it. That seemingly normal day is anything but as she soon learns when it becomes apparent that people in the building are rushing out the doors in a panic.
Downtown Girl, as the viewing public knows Nala, is an orphan whose mother died mysteriously after engaging in food production for the Resistance and, although Nala has no leanings towards the rebels’ activities, she does want to know more about how and why her mother died. It’s been ten years since the Bovine Flu pandemic and now the world is about to experience an apocalyptic event that could literally destroy the planet.
While there are aspects of the story that I really liked, especially Nala and Edison as well as other characters, I had trouble truly connecting and the somewhat muddy worldbuilding was the main cause. Part of my confusion stemmed from the somewhat erratic introduction of futuristic technology without clear explanations. For example, the VID messages that pop up but are apparently controlled by the recipient..pop up where? And what exactly is the H-Lens that allows people to see virtual files in one’s mind, I think, while no one else can see them? Why would her boyfriend, who knew about the coming disaster at least the day before, pre-program a destination for her but not warn her? Most important, though, is my inability to suspend disbelief enough to accept that the coming asteroid impact could possibly have been hidden from the public, deliberately or otherwise, until just over five hours before the event. Even today, in 2020, that couldn’t be kept entirely secret from the nerdiest high school student and I can’t imagine that it could happen in 2098.
Despite those difficulties, I did enjoy this tale of survivors attempting to bring order to what’s left of society and of Nala’s self-discovery and understanding of her place in this brave new world. There is hope for the future.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2020.
Book excerpt (first page):
-05:11:08 (311 Before Impact-BI minutes)
Nala Nightingale pressed her way into the large rotating door of Intercambio 7, rushed because the tram was down. I hope the old goat Marcus won’t change his mind and not listen to my pitch. She hadn’t been late in two years interning, but the always-early Mimi was also presenting her idea today. She suggested a piece on robotic make-up art, but Nala’s interviews regarding the orphans of the Bovine Flu had more sustenance in her opinion. But her opinion didn’t matter. Only Marcus decided which pieces went on the broadcast; and the young interns were supposed to inform Wind City of the hottest trends. That usually meant fashion news and how to bypass dance club lines, but Nala insisted the youth were concerned about social issues, too.
Marcus loved Mimi’s ideas as well as her sleek hair and how perfectly it splayed to her clavicle. He commented often on how well the camera captured her presence. Nala struggled to keep her silver-streaked wanton curls in submission and often tied them into a loose bun. Marcus appreciated her offbeat style and perspectives on issues that mattered, but she couldn’t chance losing the broadcast to Mimi today. She had to talk to him first.
Kris Maze writes empowering, twisty stories and also teaches Spanish. After years of reading classic literature, mysteries, and legal thrillers, she sought to publish her own books. Her first Science Fiction novella, IMPACT, published through Aurelia Leo, is now available!
Kris Maze is fascinated with strong characters like her protagonist Nala, a teen journalist who reluctantly works with a crazed scientist Edison to survive an incoming asteroid implosion. For more information on her book, look here.
Check out her newly revised website and say hi! While you are there sign up for her newsletter to get freebies and updates on blog tours and media takeovers during the next couple months.
For Subscribers during August there will be Writer Wellness Tips and Tools, (also good for anyone working or studying from home) so now is a fantastic time to visit her website.
One paperback copy of Impact