Rating: 4 out of 5.

Holy hell – what did I just read?? This is a fantastic first book in a new apocalyptic Science Fiction/Horror book series. It has an explosive beginning (literally) and doesn’t let up until the frenetic cliffhanger ending.

This book has it all – science, space, scientists, military facing impossible odds, shadowy government operatives, desperate citizens, quiet heroes, evil para-military villains exercising vigilante justice and monsters. I’m sure I left out a few, but you get the gist.

I really enjoyed this book. It is dark and creepy and the tension slowly builds as the book progresses. My biggest criticism is about the time and location jumps throughout the book. I know this is a popular method of telling a story, but it’s not quite successful in this book and was confusing at times. I can’t really go into too many details about it without giving out spoilers, but when you start reading it, you’ll know what I mean.

Day 0: We start off in Cern, Switzerland at a research facility. It explodes and sends a huge plume of smoke and ash in the sky. “The Cloud” starts spreading, slowly smothering the world in an impenetrable cloud of ultimate darkness. As The Cloud spreads across Europe, a team of Marines are sent on a desperate and seemingly impossible mission to gather information that may help combat The Cloud.

Day 89: The Cloud has enveloped the East Coast and is spreading to the Midwest. Citizens are desperate. Chaos and violence erupts as people flee west. An aged Tennessee Sheriff watches as the world falls apart around him. He is talked into helping a fellow Sheriff and her family flee their hometown for a pipe dream of an old nuclear bunker that may save them from The Cloud. Of course, there’s a couple thousand miles between them and the bunker and they have to not only contend with limited resources for the trip, but the evil that waits for them along the way.

The world-building is well-done and the characters pop off the page. The author does a great job delving into the complexities and foibles of his protagonists. This is definitely a testosterone-fueled book with plenty of action, fighting, blood, guts and gore. The few female characters in the book are only minor characters and are written as stereotypical “weaker sex” tropes. While this is unfortunate, you have to take this book as it is – an adrenaline junkies wet dream. While I can’t read too many books like this, I can make a few exceptions if the story grips my attention, and this one did.

Even though this book is almost 500 pages, it’s a quick and easy read. I couldn’t put it down and can’t wait until the next book comes out next year.

Thank you to NetGalley and Super Hoot Publishing for a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.