A number of years ago, my wife told me that “Preppers” had moved the next house over from her girlfriend. At the time, I asked her if she meant hoarders, but she said no. Preppers, she went on to explain are people who are preparing for the end of the world and how they are going to survive. “Great,” I responded and didn’t give it much thought since then. If you think you are going to survive a nuclear war all the power to you.

“Mind of a Madman,” is many things, but one of the dominant themes in this well crafted novel deals with Preppers. All the signs of the end of the world, the Apocalypse, is right there. An earthquake has hit California and the state is now an island, fire is running rampart, climate change and the polar caps are melting, and the weather is more severe than ever.

Steve Coleman (Max) has been missing for ten years and then suddenly shows up at his family’s home in Nevada. An air force pilot believed to have been killed, he has no recollection of the last ten years. Jeannie (Traci) the wife, is a former prostitute and is now running a brothel. David (Connor) the son is stoned all the time, and the daughter Sandy, 17 years old, has run away with her boyfriend and apparently is travelling east according to David. The family tries their best to help their father remember, but to no avail.

Jeannie, addicted to the internet and drinking too much, is downtrodden because the internet is down because of all the catastrophes, the TV only broadcasts bad news, and Steve, who loves Google maps has memorized the road he shall take to get his daughter back. Cell service in only intermittent, and David is helping himself to his father’s meds, when he is not buying them illegally.

Steve takes off in his truck to find Sandy, and unbeknown to him, Jeannie and David hide in the back trunk because they are scared of what he might do. If the story seems a little out there, it really isn’t. Mr. Zman has woven multiple stories into one cohesive, riveting narrative. The story is told by four people, in first person narrative, and the author in third person. That is not easy to do, but what is even more fascinating is that he is telling multiple stores side by side, getting into psychotic character of Steve while presenting a more normal story about Steve.

Like Mr. Zman’s other works, he mixes brilliant science fiction with the real world and what is currently happening to our planet and how we are destroying it. There are layers and layers of astute observations in this book and I was very impressed. I might not have thought of preppers much before reading this book, but I will after having read this amazing novel and where our world is heading if changes aren’t made. Highly, highly, recommend.


October 25, 2019 – Started Reading
October 25, 2019 – Shelved
October 28, 2019 – Finished Reading

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