Review: The Last Mile by Tim Waggoner

last_mile

About The Last Mile

All Dan wanted was to be a good husband and father, to provide for his wife and daughter, to keep them fed, warm, and safe. But then the malevolent godlike beings called the Masters arrived, and their darkness spread across the world, reshaping it into a twisted realm of savagery and madness. In exchange for his family's protection, Dan now serves one of these alien gods, obtaining human sacrifices to feed his Master's eternal hunger.

Like so many people since the world changed, Alice has had to do unspeakable things to survive. Unfortunately for her, she's Dan's choice for his next sacrifice. Now Dan drives along the shattered remnants of an old-world highway, headed for his Master's lair, Alice bound hand and foot in the backseat of his car. Dan may not like what he's become, but he'll do whatever it takes to protect his loved ones. Alice doesn't intend to relinquish her life so easily, though, and she plans to escape, no matter the cost.

But in the World After, everything—animals, plants, even the land itself—has become a predator, and the journey to the Master's lair is an almost guaranteed suicide run. But Dan won't give up, and he won't stop fighting. Not until he makes it through the Last Mile.


About the Author

I write fantasy and horror for both adults and young readers. I also teach creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University's MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program.

website: http://www.timwaggoner.com/


My Thoughts

Let me get this right out-of-the-way: I freaking loved The Last Mile. It's novellas like this that make me such a huge fan of the DarkFuse imprint - it's fun, it's wicked, the writing and editing are crisp, the cover design is simple yet evocative. A top-notch effort all the way around. This might even be the best read of my October.

Tim Waggoner has painted a bleak, haunted, post-apocalyptic landscape of life on the road. Alien "Masters" have taken over the planet, and have enlisted a select few to hunt and provide sacrifices on their behalf. These people bear a mark and are known as the thrall. Dan is one such thrall, and his questionable actions are motivated entirely by his love for his wife and daughter. His latest capture is Alice, a waitress before the world's fall. After his Oldsmobile comes under assault, the two are forced to beat feet for the last mile.

What follows is a nervy little tale that hops back and forth between Dan and Alice's current predicaments to their lives before the fall and following the immediate aftermath of the Master's Arrival. There's nasty business to be had, for sure, and a number of gruesome shocks as both leads adjust to their new lives. The Earth and its inhabitants have changed in some severely fundamental ways, most of them deliriously effed up. Waggoner has a knack for description when it comes to his unsettling creations and the perverse actions his cast partake in.

I'm hesitant to give anything away, though. The Last Mile is a quick, breezy read, one that had me crinkling my nose in disgust on a few occasions. That's a strong complement, by the way. Go read this one. It's good. Real good.

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Michael Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.


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