Review Corner: A Quiet Apocalypse by Dave Jeffery

A Quiet Apocalypse by Dave Jeffery

Reviewed by Morgan K. Tanner

I suppose if you were to judge this book by its title you may imagine a world free of humans where peace reigns and the people-plague is no longer a scourge on the earth.

Well, if you check out the awesome cover then surely you’ll realise that this tale is nothing of the sort. If I had to pigeonhole it I’d say Post Apocalyptic Horror, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. This sub-genre is thriving with tales of zombies and the like, but here, Dave Jeffery has crafted a tale that is perhaps even more desolate than your favourite zombie survival adventure.

In this world a disease has indeed swept through Britain. Many died but many survived. There are no flesh-hungry, entrails-wielding undead walking the streets, though, instead there is a more fearful enemy; human beings.

The survivors of this disease are left without their hearing, but not all of them. A certain few manage to survive the plague with their sense of hearing left well in tact. Suddenly these ‘lucky’ ones are seen as a precious commodity by the deaf.

Chris is one such survivor. His life is as depressing and meaningless as you could imagine. In fact his only purpose for existing is to remember his wife and daughter. His brief memories are showcased with alarming attention, dramatically increasing the tension when Chris is forced back into reality.

The ex-teacher is held captive by one of the newly-deaf. I should point out that those without hearing before the apocalypse are now seen as the lowest of the low. So low that they are murdered for their afflictions.

Chris’ captor can only communicate with an iPad type device, and he spends every day fearful that Chris may leave him. So leaving his slave with a destroyed knee, and constantly at the end of a gun barrel is probably a good way of preventing him running away. And it works.

But as the story develops Chris does indeed find a way to be rid of this life. But can anyone be truly free in a world such as this?

This book offers a social commentary on disability, on how people who are different are treated differently, but turns this right on its head. The affliction has become the norm, and those with a ‘gift’ are persecuted for it.

I could go on more about this, but the book just delivers an awesome horror story without anything being too preachy. It’s well worth your time if you are a fan of post-apocalyptic stories, but if you’re not a massive fan of this genre you will still get great satisfaction out of this.

The writing was solid, realistic, and really painted a vivid picture of ‘life’ and its perpetual nothingness.

I had a blast with this, even though the subject and setting was full-on depressing. Chris is a guy I was really rooting for, although it always seemed my hope was misplaced. The interactions between him and fellow hearers was refreshing and not your typical everyone-in-a-post-apocalyptic-story-is-a-baddie-and-will-shoot-you-as-soon-as-look-at-you trope, which was nice.

There was even a twist at the end, which you don’t usually find in P-A stories. Although it’s a little obvious what’s going down, the actual details are more harrowing than I’d thought.

I’m really recommending this book, and would also strongly advise reading in absolute silence!

-MKT


About Morgan K. Tanner

Morgan K Tanner is a writer, drummer, and golfist currently residing in the English countryside. The idyllic surroundings make it an ideal place to write, drum, and hide the bodies. The busy sound of the typewriter is perfect to drown out the hum of the antiquated torture equipment.

When he’s not writing or inflicting pain and suffering on his numerous victims, he indulges himself in all things horror and metal.

You can praise or indeed abuse him by visiting www.morganktanner.com or find him on Twitter @morgantanner666.

His novella, An Army of Skin, and short story collection, The Mind’s Plague and Other Bites of Brutality, are available now.