Liquid Silver Books, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-62210-194-8
Sci-fi Romantic Suspense, 2015
Darkfall is set in the world after a calamitous volcanic explosion shattered much of the world and left the survivors scrambling to survive. However, this story is set close enough to the present that many of the elements here are familiar enough.
Penny Graham’s father owns Sentry Security, the company that hires all the action bohunks in Denise A Agnew’s The Wastelands series. These bohunks are all standard action hero types – ex-Navy SEALs, mercenaries, that sort of thing. Anyway, back to Penny, she is cowering in the bunker. A few men tried to break into her house earlier, but she managed to call her father before she fled to the bunker. Shortly after the story opens, she hears Ian MacDaniel calling out to her. Oh, the hero is here! Plus, the two of them have a history together. However, the danger is not over – they have to find their way to safety first.
Darkfall, like the previous related tale Ashfall, is a tale of a hero rescuing the heroine. I’m taken aback by how similar the general premise of these two stories is, as the setting is rife with possibilities and it’s quite a shame that the author seems to be limiting herself to this generic premise. Incidentally, this story is exactly what it says on the cover: the hero constantly coming to the heroine’s rescue. Penny must have pheromones that attract trouble to her hoochie, because the hero can’t seem to look away for even a second before creepy guys show up to try to grope her.
Also, the heroine has a weird sense of priorities. The world has gone mad and very dangerous, she had near brushes with death, but her thoughts are preoccupied with over-analyzing Ian’s words and behavior. Oh, Ian describes her as a mission – sad face mode time, as this clearly means that he doesn’t love her. Oh, Ian scolds her for not being careful – yes, this is a clear sign that he doesn’t love her. Creepy grieving heroine time, boo-hoo-hoo! In the meantime, she leaves safe spaces to wander around looking for trouble whenever the story needs a conflict, forcing poor Ian to chase after her.
Penny doesn’t seem like a normal, real person. Other people would be scared or wondering how they would reach the last page with their lives intact. She, on the other hand, is like a silly girl plucking at forget-me-not petals and going he loves me, he loves me not. Either she’s really traumatized or she’s just… special. At any rate, her lack of urgency when it comes to her survival makes the story feel very staged.