The world, or at least the human world, is coming to an end. People are randomly committing violent murders, and suicide numbers are through the roof. No one is sure what’s going on, but speculation is of course rife. Some kind of strange creature seems to be to blame, one that drives the will to live out of people. Paranoia begins to set in, and those people still alive lock themselves away, only venturing forth blindfolded. Malorie is one such person. We see the events through her eyes, both in the past and the present as she sets off to row a boat down a river – yes, you guessed it – blindfolded, with two four-year old kids along for the ride.
The author does a fantastic job, telling the story as it unfolds in real time, and also the past events. He certainly knows how to ratchet up the tension, and his characters act appropriately, going through stages of terror, denial and so forth at these moments. To offset these, he details the banal existence of a group of people all in the same boat (not the rowboat), and house, struggling to survive. Malorie is a great host. She is sensible, but still feels the same fear as everyone else. Maybe more so. But she is brave and has to deal with the past events while pregnant.
Malorie details the standard horror clique dynamic well, but the characters are well-drawn, from “doer” Tom, who is the unofficial leader who keeps everyone on the rough and ready, to skeptical Don, who fights him most of the way. When an outsider, Gary, arrives, things start to go downhill.
All in all, this is an excellent short read, with Netflix releasing a movie in December. Plenty of time to read the book in advance.