Blackout Trail
by Linda Naughton
Wordsmyth Creations

"Grown-ups get scared too, you know. We just usually don’t like to admit it."

Envision a world where normal life is interrupted by an EMP, resulting in a massive electronic failure that causes planes to freefall from the sky and which sends society into an apocalyptic reality where every decision means life or death. Within this construct, Dr. Anna Hastings is called to action, thrust into an environment of care and trauma that exceeds anything she has ever seen in the hospital. What begins as a mission to heal soon results in a familial bond developing between Anna, a young child named Lily, and her father, Mark. They embark on a treacherous journey to Maine to find Mark’s wife, Lauren. Whether it is nearly being separated within the dangerous waters of a river current or being faced with devastating injuries, the trio of Anna, Lily, and Mark persevere. Their unyielding resolve to not just survive but thrive is always at the forefront.

Throughout the adventure, there are constant themes playing off each other, ranging from companionship versus isolation and coming face-to-face with mortality to a stranger like Anna feeling an inherently maternal connection to Lily when it is deemed that humanity has gone down the cellar. Moreover, the question of contentment is broached in a nuanced way when the party is given an opportunity to shift the paradigm of their lives and live a perfectly satisfying life on a farm with folks that become great friends. However, the chase never truly ends. Mark is absolutely convinced his wife Lauren awaits him, while the intensity of Anna’s feelings continues to rise as she spends more time—and experiences more adventures—with Mark and Lily. Above all else, Naughton’s narrative is simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking. Although fictional, the novel may not be far from the truth in a world so dependent on technology.

A 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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