More Chaos from John Babb

Unleashing Chaos: A Last Brigade Prequel (The Collapse Book 2)
By John Babb
Dingbat Publishing

Reviewed by Jeff Salter

Introduction:

Since it was scarcely five months ago that I got around to reviewing the first of these two novels, you may be surprised that I’m so quickly reviewing the second. But I think these stories are terrific and I’m captivated by William Alan Webb’s “Last Brigade” universe — to which Babb’s novels link.

My Review:

Set in mid-2025, a few months after the events of Book One (Sowing Chaos), John Babb’s sequel continues the riveting story of a catastrophically collapsed American society struggling to overcome the massively-scaled attacks from the previous volume. Those earlier disasters were fomented and financed by a certain North Korean dictator, but much of what unfolds in this volume seems to be the work of a criminal mastermind with his own selfish agenda… though he’s utilizing some of the players from the earlier setup.

The scale of these new attacks is exponentially worse… in terms of deaths, destruction, paralysis of travel and shipping, and annihilation of the dollar currency of America (and cooperative nations). As we might expect, those other nations soon feel their own catastrophic pain from the collapse of America’s businesses, manufacturing, commerce, and banking.

We rejoin a few of the same characters from Book One, but also meet a host of others. The villains are well-drawn and cringingly evil… the good guys (male and female) are convincingly played. We also meet at least one compelling renegade character who’s totally outside either camp and yet shares at least one major goal with the “good guys.”

The author draws on years of actual experience with the very types of medical outbreaks which occur in this story… and that authenticity captures the reader even more. In fact, this genuineness is one of the aspects which truly stands out. It’s particularly chilling that these 2025 incidents – as calamitous as they are – could very well be actual newspaper headlines. If not in 2025, then perhaps a couple of years either way. This differs from what I’ve encountered in many “future” stories wherein the central chaotic events seem much too improbable. With current real-life situations developing as they are, Babb’s scenarios of massively-scaled destruction feel all too probable!

An observation (though not a criticism, per se):

Babb’s presentation of these shattering events is necessarily panoramic — a bird’s eye view, so to speak. In many disaster stories, we’d see a thread or two revealing the PERSONAL upheaval to innocent citizens (devastated by the crisis, though neither the cause nor the “cure” of it). In this story, we mainly see the wholesale destruction (in terms of cities or regions) — we closely follow the movements and actions of the bad guys who caused it and of the good guys who try to mitigate. But what’s happening with Joe and Jane Citizen… and how do they fare throughout the novel?

Somewhat related is the absence of personal distress among the good guy team principals. Agent Martinelli – one of the heroic figures in both novels – is one example. We’d expect at least a mention (from her) of loved ones or friends who’d been killed, injured, or ruined by all the attacks… but in Book Two she seems so totally focused on mitigation that we don’t see any personal heartbreak. Wouldn’t she have a moment of unproductive sorrow?

A previous gripe… fixed:

One of my gripes about Book One has been rectified in this sequel: namely, that – to me – most of the powerful people in high positions acted and spoke with too much harmony (too agreeable and cooperative). [Though I’ve never been inside those lofty offices in real life, I suspect there’s a lot more bickering and posturing and turf-protecting.] In Book Two, we DO see those negative traits in a few characters — highly-placed “fellow travelers” who are either actively obstructing the efforts of the good guys … or who are merely in accord with the overall goals of the bad guys. [That’s more believable to me.] But – as in Book One – we see hardly any friction among the others. In fact, to me, they act and sound TOO polite. Nary a one (of the good guys) sounds brusque or irritated (or even distracted by their own personal crises)… other than a few glimpses of typical frustration at the massive chaos they face.

Summary:

Though this story can stand alone quite well, I recommend you read the prequel also. But take your blood pressure pill before you read these compelling novels — a detailed look at a totally shattered America, which feels all too possible.

Blurb:

Foiled in their nuclear attack on New York, but successful in triggering the New Madrid Fault, the terrorist cabal bent on destroying America turns to Phase Two of their conspiracy: releasing a deadly epidemic inside the USA and framing Russia for the deed. As order breaks down and chaos sweeps across the nation, Agent Martinelli and her CIA colleagues race to ferret out the killers and stop them before millions die.
Written with an immediacy and insight that only comes from Rear Admiral (ret.) John Babb’s decade of experience preparing for just such a catastrophe, Unleashing Chaos is the second chilling prequel to William Alan Webb’s Last Brigade Universe.

Author:

John Babb comes from a background in pharmacy and public health. For several years, he worked in the Office of the Surgeon General, and a part of his responsibilities was to think about various threats to our country (biological, chemical, explosive, radiological, and nuclear), and to consider how his service, the U.S. Public Health Service, might respond to those threats. Sowing Chaos is an attempt to tell a story packed with scenarios which hopefully will make the reader realize that these threats are not only completely feasible, but absolutely possible.

For my review of Book One [Sowing Chaos]:

For more about the author and a different novel:

Buy Link:

[JLS # 558]

About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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4 Responses to More Chaos from John Babb

  1. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Thanks for sharing your observations! With headlines already reflecting dire situations, it’s even more scary to think of what could happen if we’re not careful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. More than likely, this is too close for comfort.
    I am glad to see any work, let alone a timely one, well-written. I am also glad that the flaw in the first book was rectified. It isn’t often that an editor/publisher or an author will take constructive criticism to heart and make changes.
    I’m not sure that I am brave enough for these.

    Liked by 1 person

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