"Skylight" is nothing but scary. It includes storylines that mimic movies and other books where the dead take over and where society has adapted in all kinds of ways to compensate for destruction caused by man.
The author, Kevin Hopkins, the director of energy and environmental research for the Communications Institute, a Los Angeles-based think tank, explains in the prologue that he's been thinking about this book for a while, years even.
And he believes it's time now to sound the warning bell.
In "Skylight," he's trying to describe what might or probably will actually happen if mankind keeps burning fossil fuels and creating toxic air that even birds can't abide.
Martin Fall, a corporate executive with an energy company, is enjoying an outdoor barbecue and soccer game with his family and friends when birds start dropping from the sky and people start collapsing.
From there, he finds himself without his wife and daughter. He's next living in the former "Stadium at Anaheim," scraping by with wages he earns for digging ditches until he's recruited to help the government.
All around him is destruction, chaos and poverty.
Millions living 4,000 feet or more above sea level are overcome. Everyone above 2,500 feet above sea level is at risk.
The new, huge, solar-powered energy plant takes more power to operate than it creates, and there are secrets behind its existence.
People aren't kind. They're cruel and selfish. They take what they need without considering who it hurts.
Based on the author's vision of what he believes might happen unless mankind changes behavior radically and quickly, this makes for an interesting read except for a few seemingly obvious questions.
Martin is charged with figuring out who is bombing the government's fuel storage tanks, so he's lifted out of the rubble and given a chance to make some difference.
But it's a long road to any success, and all along the way, he's reliving moments after the first "oxygen wipeouts," so the reader must go there with him again and again in flashbacks.
Piece by piece, he discovers what is going on.
He falls for the woman who came to take him from his life in the rubble. His best and only friend is killed.
There's some violence, blood and death. There's also some sex, but it's couched. There's racism and prejudice.
There's actually a little bit of just about everything, and it could be upsetting to the unprepared or hyperanxious.
Other than that, it's an adventurous and ambitious read with plenty of suspense and some surprises, despite the fact it follows a common end-of-the-world theme.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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