Author: Kelly deVos
Publication Date: 11/12/19
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Don’t miss the exhilarating new novel from the author of Fat Girl on a Plane, featuring a fierce, bold heroine who will fight for her family and do whatever it takes to survive. Fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It series and Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave series will cheer for this fast-paced, near-future thrill ride.
If you’re going through hell…keep going.
Seventeen-year-old coder Jinx Marshall grew up spending weekends drilling with her paranoid dad for a doomsday she’s sure will never come. She’s an expert on self-heating meal rations, Krav Maga and extracting water from a barrel cactus. Now that her parents are divorced, she’s ready to relax. Her big plans include making it to level 99 in her favorite MMORPG and spending the weekend with her new hunky stepbrother, Toby.
But all that disaster training comes in handy when an explosion traps her in a burning building. Stuck leading her headstrong stepsister, MacKenna, and her precocious little brother, Charles, to safety, Jinx gets them out alive only to discover the explosion is part of a pattern of violence erupting all over the country. Even worse, Jinx’s dad stands accused of triggering the chaos.
In a desperate attempt to evade paramilitary forces and vigilantes, Jinx and her siblings find Toby and make a break for Mexico. With seemingly the whole world working against them, they’ve got to get along and search for the truth about the attacks—and about each other. But if they can survive, will there be anything left worth surviving for?
Dr. Doomsday’s Guide to Ultimate Survival
Rule One: Always be prepared.
I exhale in relief when MacKenna pulls the car into the Halliwell’s Market parking lot. Because of the Sugar Sales Permit waiting list, old stores like these are the only places that carry Extra Jolt soda. I have to buy it myself, because Mom won’t keep any in the house.
She thinks too much caffeine rots your brain or something. Halliwell’s is a squat brown building that sits across the street from the mall and is next door to the town’s only skyscraper.
The First Federal Building was supposed to be the first piece of a suburban business district designed to rival the hip boroughs of New York. The mayor announced the construction of a movie theater, an apartment complex and an indoor aquarium. But the New Depression hit, and the other buildings never materialized.
The First Federal Building alone soars toward the clouds, an ugly glass rectangle visible from every neighborhood, surrounded by the old town shops that have been there forever. Most of the stores are empty.
We park in front of the market.
Our car nestles in the long shadow of the giant bank building.
Charles gets out and stands on the sidewalk in front of the car.
MacKenna opens her door. She hesitates again. “Listen, I know you might not want to hear this or believe it. But my book report wasn’t about hurting you or getting revenge. I’m trying to get you to see what’s really happening here. That Carver’s election is the start of something bad. We could use you at the rally. You’re one of the few people who understands Dr. Doomsday’s work. You could explain what he did. How he helped Carver cheat to win.”
“I’ve been planning this raid for months,” I say. My stomach churns, sending uncomfortable flutters through my insides. I don’t know what it would mean to talk about my father’s work. What I really want to do is pretend it doesn’t exist. Pretend the world is normal and whole.
I reassure myself with the reminder that there’s no way MacKenna is going to the rally either.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Charles give us a small wave. Before MacKenna can say anything else, I get out and grab my backpack.
Inside Halliwell’s, I pick up a blue basket from the stack near the door. The small market is busy and full of other people shopping after school or work. The smell of pine cleaner hits me as we pass the checkout stations. They are super serious about germs and always cleaning between customers.
I leave MacKenna and Charles at the Click N’Grow rack near the door to check out the seed packets that my brother collects. Dad got Charles hooked on this computerized gardening that uses an e-tablet and a series of tiny indoor lights to create the ideal indoor planter box. Each week, they release a new set of exclusive seeds. Their genetic modifications are controversial.
All the soda is in large coolers that line one of the walls of the market. They keep the strange stuff in the corner. Expensive root beers. Ramune imported from Japan. And! Extra! Jolt! I put a few bottles of strawberry in my basket. I snag some grape too. For a second, I consider buying a couple of bottles of doughnut flavor. But that sounds like too much, even for me. The chips are in the next aisle. I load up on cheese puffs and spicy nacho crisps.
MacKenna and Charles are still at the rack near the door, and I try to squeeze by them without attracting any notice. I usually don’t buy unhealthy snacks when I’m with my brother. I smuggle them in my backpack and have a special hiding space in my desk.
My brother has type 1 diabetes, and he’s supposed to check his blood sugar after meals. He can have starchy or sugary snacks only when his glucose level is good or on special occasions.
MacKenna grimaces at a packet of seeds in her hands. “I still don’t like this one. It’s pretty. But still. It’s…carnivorous.”
I have to hand it to her. She really does have a look. She’s pale and white, like me, but she manages to seem like she’s doing it on purpose and not because she’s some kind of vampire- movie reject. Her glossy black hair always rests in perfect waves, and if the journalism thing doesn’t work out, she could definitely have a career in fashion design.
Charles smiles at her. “It’s a new kind of pitcher plant. Like the Cobra Lily.” He points to the picture on the front of the seed packet. “Look at the blue flowers. That’s new.”
“It eats other plants,” MacKenna says.
“You eat plants.”
“But I don’t eat people,” MacKenna says. “There’s got to be some kind of natural law that says you shouldn’t eat your own kind.”
So far so good. Until.
My brother trots up behind me and dumps a few packs of seeds in my basket. His gaze lands on my selection of soda and chips. “Can I get some snacks too?”
I freeze. “What’s your number?”
Charles pretends he can’t hear me. That’s not a good sign.
“Charles, what’s your number?”
He still doesn’t look at me. “I forgot my monitor today.”
“Well, I have mine.” I kneel down and dig around for the spare glucometer I keep in the front pocket of my backpack. By the time I get it out, MacKenna has already pulled Charles out of his blazer and rolled up the sleeve of his blue dress shirt. I wave the device over the small white sensor disk attached to my brother’s upper arm.
After a few seconds, the glucometer beeps and a number displays on the screen.
Crap. Crap. Crap.
“Charles! What did you eat today?”
My brother’s face turns red. “They were having breakfast-for-lunch day at school. Everyone else was having pancakes. Why can’t I have pancakes?”
I sigh. Something about his puckered up little face keeps me from reminding him that if he eats too much sugar he could die. “You know what Mom said. If you eat something you’re not supposed to, you have to get a pass and go to the nurse for your meds.”
My brother’s shoulders slump. “I couldn’t go to the nurse. Hummingbirds were visiting the Chuparosa and…”
Charles is on the verge of tears and frowns even more deeply at the sight of my basket full of junk food.
“Look,” I say. “There are plenty of healthy snacks we can eat. I’ll put this stuff back.”
“That’s right,” MacKenna says, giving Charles’s hand a squeeze. “We can get some popcorn. Yogurt. Um, I saw some really delicious-looking fresh pears back there.”
“And they have the cheese cubes you like,” I add.
We go around the store replacing the cheese puffs and soda with healthy stuff. I hesitate when I have to put back the Extra Jolt, but I really don’t want to make my brother feel bad because I can drink sugary stuff and he can’t.
We pay for the healthy snacks and the seed packets.
I grab the bags and move toward the market’s sliding doors.
I end up ahead of them, waiting outside by the car and facing the store. The shopping center behind Halliwell’s is mostly empty. The shoe store went out of business last year. Strauss Stationers, where everyone used to buy their fancy wedding invitations, closed two years before that. The fish ’n’ chips drive-through is doing okay and has a little crowd in front of the take-out window. Way off in the distance, Saba’s is still open, because in Arizona, cowboy boots and hats aren’t considered optional.
I watch MacKenna and Charles step out of the double doors and into the parking lot. Two little dimples appear on MacKenna’s cheeks when she smiles. Charles has a looseness to his walk. His arms dangle.
There’s a low rumble, like thunder from a storm that couldn’t possibly exist on this perfectly sunny day.
In the reflection of the market’s high, shiny windows, I see something happening in the bank building next door. Some kind of fire burning in the lower levels. A pain builds in my chest and I force air into my lungs. My vision blurs at the edges. It’s panic, and there isn’t much time before it overtakes me.
The muscles in my legs tense and I take off at a sprint, grabbing MacKenna and Charles as I pass. I haul them along with me twenty feet or so into the store. We clear the door and run past a man and a woman frozen at the sight of what’s going on across the street.
I desperately want to look back.
But I don’t.
A low, loud boom.
My ears ring.
The lights in the store go off.
I’ve got MacKenna by the strap of her maxidress and Charles by the neck. We feel our way in the dim light. The three of us crouch and huddle together behind a cash counter. A few feet in front of us, the cashier who checked us out two minutes ago is sitting on the floor hugging her knees.
We’re going to die.
Charles’s mouth is wide-open. His lips move. He pulls at the sleeve of my T-shirt.
I can’t hear anything.
It takes everything I’ve got to force myself to move.
Leaning forward. Pressing my face into the plywood of the store counter, I peek around the corner using one eye to see out the glass door. My eyelashes brush against the rough wood, and I grip the edge to steady myself. I take in the smell of wood glue with each breath.
Hail falls in the parking lot. I realize it’s glass.
My stomach twists into a hard knot.
It’s raining glass.
That’s the last thing I see before a wave of dust rolls over the building.
Leaving us in darkness.
Excerpted from Day Zero by Kelly deVos, Copyright © 2019 by Kelly deVos. Published by Inkyard Press.
KELLY DEVOS is from Gilbert, Arizona, where she lives with her high school sweetheart husband, amazing teen daughter and superhero dog, Cocoa. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. When not reading or writing, Kelly can typically be found with a mocha in hand, bingeing the latest TV shows and adding to her ever-growing sticker collection. Her debut novel, Fat Girl on a Plane, named one of the “50 Best Summer Reads of All Time” by Reader’s Digest magazine, is available now from HarperCollins.
Kelly’s work has been featured in the New York Times as well as on Salon, Vulture and Bustle.
** Thank you Netgalley & Forge Books for my eARC. **
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Crime Fiction
Rating: DNF ⭐⭐
I am going to be a VERY unpopular opinion with this one.
I’m all for courtroom drama, but this…was just drama. It felt like I was reading a daytime soap. The storytelling was slow and repetitive. Hello Y&R!
I could have skipped from chapter 1 to chapter 5 and it would still be the same thing: the mention of Jack being a lawyer who hates losing, his hatred for Martha Gardiner and Rachel the law student, who also happens to be Gardiner’s intern.
I also found it juvenile at times. Rachel was like a melodramatic teenager trapped in a 36 year old’s body.
The premise is what hooked me, and I liked the alternating timelines, but I just didn’t have the patience for this one. Sorry..
Have you read this one?
Law student Rachel North will tell you, without hesitation, what she knows to be true. She’s smart, she’s a hard worker, she does the right thing, she’s successfully married to a faithful and devoted husband, a lion of Boston’s defense bar, and her internship with the Boston DA’s office is her ticket to a successful future.
Problem is–she’s wrong.
And in this cat and mouse game–the battle for justice becomes a battle for survival.
**Thank you Netgalley & Celadon Books for my eARC.**
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
“He stepped silently out from the bushes behind the boy, and then whispered his name.”
This was like Sixth Sense meets Stephen King. All the hype around this book is completely legit. It definitely has the makings of a great horror flick.
This book had such an incredible creep factor! From the description of the scary looking house, to Jake’s drawing of the little girl. It was all so eerie.
“He had captured the odd look of the place well. The curved, childlike lines stretched the house into a strange shape, elongating the windows, and making it look more like a face than ever. The front door appeared to be moaning.”
“And beside him, he’d drawn another person in his bedroom. A little girl, her black hair splayed almost angrily out to one side. Her dress was colored in with patches of blue, leaving the rest white. Little scrapes of red on one of her knees. A corkscrew smile on her face.”
I made the mistake of reading this at night, which was kind of a bad idea! I let my mind run loose and had managed to creep myself out enough, that I couldn’t sleep!!
“If you leave a door half open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken.
If you play outside alone, soon you won’t be going home.
If your window’s left unlatched, you’ll hear him tapping at the glass.
If you’re lonely, sad, and blue, the Whisper Man will come for you.”
I don’t think there was one character I didn’t like!
Detective Willis is a recovering alcoholic, Tom is a grieving widower and Jake has an imaginary friend.
The Whisper Man was like the boogeyman: terrifying and incredibly well-written.
The story & connecting the dots..
Both Detective Willis and Tom have personal issues they are dealing with, which made for a slower read at times, but it was never boring.
Even though I had figured out the whodunit part halfway through, there were a few twists and elements of surprise that were unexpected.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and think it makes a great one to add to your Halloween list of reads.
Have you read it? Is it on your TBR??
After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.
But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.
Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.
And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS a bad case. Only a bad client.
This was like learning to drive a stick shift for the very first time. At times it’s moving well, others not so much.
What worked well:
I enjoyed the alternating POV’s between Eddie & Kane.
Kane was a great villain: ever so calculated with impeccable timing.
Unfortunately, the story itself didn’t quite have the same effect as the premise did.
It was entertaining, but not the nail biting experience I was hoping to get.
THE SERIAL KILLER ISN’T ON TRIAL.
HE’S ON THE JURY…
They were Hollywood’s hottest power couple. They had the world at their feet. Now one of them is dead and Hollywood star Robert Solomon is charged with the brutal murder of his beautiful wife.
This is the celebrity murder trial of the century and the defence want one man on their team: con artist turned lawyer Eddie Flynn.
All the evidence points to Robert’s guilt, but as the trial begins a series of sinister incidents in the court room start to raise doubts in Eddie’s mind.
What if there’s more than one actor in the courtroom?
What if the killer isn’t on trial? What if the killer is on the jury?
** Thank you Netgalley and Mulholland Books for my eARC **
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ 1/2
Number one: you are not the first and you will certainly not be the last. Number two: remember, it’s not about the money —it’s about The Chain.
Would you kidnap someone’s child in order to rescue yours?
This book starts off intense. I’m not much of a sports fan, but it was like watching game 6 of the 2019 NBA finals (Raptors vs Golden State Warriors). Anything to do with children going missing gives me anxiety!
I had a hard time deciding how to rate this one because the writing fell a little short for me. While it was fast-paced, it read more like a sports commentary. The intensity was there, but it lacked the emotions I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel like it was real..like the pages were coming to life. I think this could have been achieved if the story was told in first person, rather than third.
Overall, it was still a good read. It was addictive and made me wanna keep turning the pages!
Have you read it?
You just dropped off your child at the bus stop. A panicked stranger calls your phone. Your child has been kidnapped, and the stranger explains that their child has also been kidnapped, by a completely different stranger. The only way to get your child back is to kidnap another child within 24 hours. Your child will be released only when the next victim’s parents kidnap yet another child, and most importantly, the stranger explains, if you don’t kidnap a child, or if the next parents don’t kidnap a child, your child will be murdered. You are now part of The Chain.
Who else is guilty of going on a request binge on Netgalley, and having a long list of books waiting to be read and reviewed? 🙋♀️
Right now Netgalley is hosting a reviewathon challenge to help tackle all those ARC’s, and I have joined in all the fun.
Link: Netgalley reviewathon
It’s still week 1, which is to show off your TBR (To Be Reviewed). Here’s mine:
I’ve completed one so far (The Arrangement). YAY!
I try not to request too many, but it’s hard not to cause 1) there are just too many good books, and 2) I don’t always get approved for all the ones I’m interested in reading.
How do you tackle your eARC’s?
How many books are on your Netgalley TBR??