First came the comet. Then came the fires. Now we fight to save what’s left. Baptiste, stranded 500 miles from his wife and daughter, at the northern edge of civilization, has made a vow to protect a teenage girl from the chaos that surrounds them. But as food and fuel runs out, and even friends prove they can’t be trusted, Baptiste realizes that this promise won’t be easy to keep.
After the Fires Went Out: Coyote by Regan Wolfrom is a post-apocalyptic tale of the strange and unpredictable balance of courage, betrayal and integrity bound up in fallible, eminently relatable characters. The plot is fast paced and often surprising, but never implausible.
I found myself identifying with the main character, even though I couldn’t understand, let alone approve, many of his choices. Baptiste is a complex protagonist and may even qualify as an anti-hero, but I never doubted his basic motivation: to protect the members of his self-made family against the dangers inherent in a badly damaged world with a decimated and therefore desperate population.
The writing style in this book is a bit unusual, a cross between epistolary and first person present tense. It probably shouldn’t work, but it does – amazingly well. The first person narrative gives the reader a sense of immediacy while the journal entries that frame the narrative allows Wolfrom a great deal of freedom and ease of transition that he might not otherwise have had. The writing is tightly, but evenly paced and never disappoints.
For those of you who are PA fanatics, and those who just want to see if the genre is for them, Coyote is a must read.
Regan is now the author of numerous short stories and an upcoming post-apocalyptic novel series with only one mention (so far) of zombie erections. Regan hopes to one day write a novel set on Mars while sitting in his boxer shorts on the actual Red Planet, and everything that comes before that is really just his way of saving up for the one-way trip. For more about Regan and his work, check out his website here.