Author: Grace R. Duncan
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 75 Pages
At a Glance: An enjoyable read that I’d recommend if you’re sitting by the pool watching the kids or killing some time.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: When Duncan stumbles into a pharmacy in search of something to fix his broken leg, he’s surprised to find someone else there. Like the rest of the post-pandemic world, it appeared empty. Instead, he discovers Mark, a former nurse who walked away from his profession after losing too many patients to the virus. Despite swearing he’d never practice medicine again, Mark patches Duncan up over Duncan’s protests. He even finds an abandoned house in the tiny town, and they settle in until Duncan heals enough to look out for himself. Much to the chagrin of both, they find themselves caring for each other.
Duncan welcomes it, thrilled at finding someone he can trust. However, he’s well aware of the shadows in Mark’s eyes and understands Mark’s reticence as he learns the story. But as he’s starting to do things for himself again, Duncan realizes he doesn’t want Mark to leave. He’s not sure if can get Mark to let go of his fears so they can stay together and love. But Duncan’s damned sure going to try.
Review: I’m a pretty big fan of pandemic, post-apocalyptic, rebuilding life type stories. There’s something so powerful and heroic about the main characters who, despite the odds, managed to survive. Like they’re super human or something. So when I read the blurb for this book, I was pretty excited to see how the author would handle the genre.
Grace R. Duncan handled the story well. The characters had distinct personalities which complemented one another. Through description of the setting, the world became clear and added an element of isolation to the story. The way each man harbored their feelings, fearing that allowing them out would push the other away, helped to keep the tension high. And the fears were believable. In a world where most of the human race has perished, trusting that you won’t continue to lose the people you love is a very believable fear.
While the book was enjoyable, something I was able to read quickly without putting it aside and then coming back to it, there were elements to the story which left me wanting for more. This is the risk of writing shorter stories. There’s never enough space to fully develop the emotions and relationships when the word count is lower.
In this case, there were two key points where the length of the story impacted my response to it: One was when the two men met and had a discussion about why one helped the other in a world where suspicion runs high and people are out for themselves. The other was the pacing of the connection…a bit too fast for my taste.
All in all, an enjoyable read that I’d recommend if you’re sitting by the pool watching the kids or killing some time.
You can buy Healing here: