Life & Society as we know it can take a twisted terrible path
Marta Moran Bishop has penned a fascinating what-if dystopian sequence of two novels available as book one and two or as a boxed set. I was fortunate to get the boxed set from Audible.com and listen to together with my family in lockdown to Darkness Descends (the prequel) and The Between Times (the sequel). I ‘ll not rehash the details of the story as this is a review and not a report. The intensity and brutality of the people in power in these novels, the sheer level of cruelty has Bishop vying with serial killer novelists and TV shows like Criminal Minds and CSI. Bishop sets the stage well, uses props masterfully, and the story unfolds to the ear like a Broadway rendition of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 with a goodly dose of Brave New World. Still, while the dark side of the power brokers is genuinely executed and in places hard to stomach due to the attention to detail and the interplay of dialogue and character, there is the bright hope of Jewell herself, like a shining beacon on the lost hill. This is an American dystopia played out in Chicago, and the author’s obvious knowledge of the city struck me hard as I grew up in Chicago and have used the same city for many of my own writings. The novel here reminded me of just how long people have been declaring the men and women made the richest BY Chicago and Chicagoans have done badly in supporting the most vulnerable among us. In 1893 a visiting Englishman, a reporter who died on the Titanic, William Stead wrote of this crisis of Chicago in great detail in his book entitled If Christ Came to Chicago. And so, yes Bishops two titles in a boxed set on audible (ebook as well) moved me to deep thought about the crisis of Chicago in 1893 and today in 2020 with the pandemic that has hit the poorest and oldest among us the hardest, and yet we must always maintain hope and light.
Robert W. Walker, author of the Instinct Series