Did you ever see Men in Black or better yet Men in Black II? Of course you did. Well, that tells you pretty much what to expect from Benjamin Wallace’s debut novel. Just picture Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in a post-apocalyptic nightmare world, except they’re not on the same side this time, and get ready to stay up all night laughing.
It’s seven years after the apocalypse. Plants, animals, and humans have mutated. Cities are a shambles and what still lives in one is nothing you want to meet. The survivors have hunkered down in walled villages, and post-apocalyptic nomadic warriors travel the roads in Mustangs and motor homes, offering their services to the leery inhabitants.
Some of these warriors are better than others. Some are trustworthy. Others aren’t. The village of New Hope has two such warriors to choose between, and when the town bureaucrats make the wrong choice, the only man who can save the villagers is the somewhat bumbling alternative, the one they just threw out on his butt. Jerry and his drooling mastiff sidekick, Chewy, must protect the town, defeat an evil army intent on appropriating slaves and supplies, and rescue the captives seized from other, already destroyed villages.
Some reviewers describe Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warrior as a comic book without the drawings, and that’s reasonably apt. Another good term for it is comedic thriller. Wallace didn’t stint on tension, and the second half of the novel is page-turning action with cliffhanger endings for each chapter, interspersed with groaners and solid laughs. This reviewer read for three hours straight, because there was no place to stop.
Almost every novel published as an ebook contains errors, either in formatting or the usual grammatical and word choice stuff (they’re/their, it’s/its). Post-Apocalyptic Nomadic Warrior is well formatted, but it would have benefited from the attention of a good line editor. While the errors made this reviewer pause occasionally, they didn’t interfere sufficiently with the reading process to dampen the appreciation:
(while driving in a motor home trying to outrun bad guys on motorcycles) [Jerry] struck a switch on the dash that didn’t look as if it belonged there.
[Erica] stomped on the brake. The coach lurched forward on its frame… There was a thud from behind the coach. A rider shot past them on the right.
She mashed the gas. “What was that switch?”
“It turns off the brake lights.”