As Doug Branning and his twenty-two-year-old daughter, Deni, step off their plane in Birmingham, Alabama, the power shuts off. At first they think it's merely a normal power outage. Then planes start dropping from the sky and every car stalls along the highways. So starts Terri Blackstock's suspense novel, Last Light. Almost immediately violence starts as people fight for bikes at Walmart in order to get home. But the violence worsens as marauders loot vehicles and stores. Deni and her little sister Beth discover the murdered bodies of Beth's teacher and her jeweler husband in their upscale neighborhood.
Now families that have wanted for nothing their entire lives, have to learn how to care for themselves and each other while having almost nothing. When a survivalist family in the neighborhood is discovered dead in their homes, including their six-year-old son, the Brannings' neighbor, Brad Caldwell, the only black man in the neighborhood, is suspected. Vigilantes attack him. But the doctor in the neighborhood is also suspected.
In the light of the needs of an elderly widow with cancer and an abandoned mother with three babies, Doug and Kay Branning begin wondering if God has meant this event as an opportunity to serve their neighborhood for Christ. That service becomes more difficult with the spoiled whining and sneaking of their own four kids. Deni, especially, is frantic to get to Washington to her fiancè Craig and justifies behavior which threatens her destruction.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the New Orleans disaster, Blackstock's novel is chillingly realistic in spite of its unique premise. Civilization breaks down in a short time in catastrophic situations. Her description of that environment is so strong that a couple of times I caught myself checking to see that my computer was still working.
Character drives this novel, and Blackstock demonstrates both the good and the foibles in the best of characters. She draws these characters with such a fine touch that I wanted to reach into the book and shake the kids and at other times I stayed awake worrying about Deni's decisions.
My negative criticisms are minor. I think it would have been good if the main characters had expressed earlier in the book some concerns for extended families and friends. At one point near the end, Kay wishes she could talk to her mother, but even here she is more concerned with herself than with her parents' safety. Blackstock makes the characters almost too self-centered. Surely normal Christian adults, even though struggling for survival themselves, would be concerned for their families far away.
Blackstock paints a negative picture of upper class Christian life. She does a good job showing the kids, in particular, as worldly, with few Christian standards, and extremely self-centered. How widespread and accurate that picture is I don't know, but she does an excellent job of rendering it.
As a longtime fan of Blackstock's writing, I think this one of her spiritually deepest, most thought-provoking, and best novels yet. It made me take a second and third look at my own whining, complaining, and techno-dependency. Bravo, Terri! -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
Today, the world as you know it will end. No need to turn off the lights.
Your car suddenly stalls and won’t restart. You can’t call for help because your cell phone is dead. Everyone around you is having the same problem ... and it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Your city is in a blackout. Communication is cut off. Hospital equipment won’t operate. And airplanes are falling from the sky. Is it a terrorist attack ... or something far worse?
Last Light, book one in Terri Blackstock’s new Restoration series, deals with a crisis that sweeps the entire high-tech planet back to the age before electricity. The Branning family and others in their Birmingham, Ala., community are left to wonder whether the recent events are a result of a terrorist attack, an electromagnetic pulse or something else.
All the conveniences of modern society are gone, and the only thing the Brannings have left is each other and their neighbors. Their little community will either stand or fall together. But they’re only beginning to realize it—and trust doesn’t come easily. Especially when one of them is a killer.
Bestselling suspense author Terri Blackstock weaves a masterful what-if novel in which global catastrophe reveals the darkness in human hearts—and lights the way to restoration for a self-centered world.