I will freely admit I picked this one up entirely for the title, and certainly I’m always ready for a new post-apocalyptic dystopia. The underlying premise is that a series of natural disasters led into multiple world wars that caused the end of civilization as we know it. The protagonist had holed himself up in a cabin in the Appalachians near Spring Hill Tennessee right as everything was falling apart—and stayed there for nearly ten years before venturing out into the world again to see what the state of things were. He discovers that at least in the Southeast, there are a couple of factions vying for power, and that the prevailing form of civilization lies in a chain of strip clubs that have become the new version of the frontier saloon. Hijinks ensue.
This book wants to be funny and it wants to make social commentary at the same time, and while it tries hard to do both it only really managed some of the funny. It’s not a very long book, and at times feels breezier than it ought to be. A lack of connection with the Southeast on my part probably doesn’t help in my ability to connect with some of the action.
Though that is partially an issue of how he deals with geography I think. I don’t care how many cannibals you’re running from, I find it surprising that if you get lost on the way to Chattanooga from western Tennessee you’re going to swiftly end up in Cleveland. When you’re on foot. Until I looked at maps and discovered that there’s a Cleveland in Tennessee. Not good if you’re aiming to engage an audience not familiar with the Southeast. The only reason I knew some of the landmarks he mentioned regularly was due to various conversations with Cherie the last few years.