The Last, Hanna Jameson
The scope of THE LAST is reasonably small, and this focus on largely just the one location makes it a very personal account of one visiting American who is displaced at the time of nuclear war. A group of people, only temporarily connected through all staying or working at the same hotel, do not necessarily make for the best collection of apocalypse buddies. Who knows where we will be or who we will be with when it all does finally go to hell and the world has to re-establish a new order that has hopefully learned from the mistakes of its past. That’s the hope, anyway.
As a post-apocalyptic, THE LAST is not structured on a grand scale, though the incident that cuts off Jon Keller from the rest of the world is of course a global event. We don’t hear much of what is happening beyond the Swiss town where Jon is staying, but we know it’s all bad. The rapid rearrangement of one’s priorities, the putting aside of one’s normal moral codes etc are all points examined in THE LAST. There is little explanation of the after affects of fallout, diminishing resources and whatever anarchy we imagine would inevitable happen when people are no longer being policed or held accountable for their actions. If you’re a stickler for the details, not finding out these particulars will definitely take away some of the punch of this book for you.
THE LAST has a terrific premise and an exciting start but it does about half way in begin to seem a bit like a high school melodrama. It seems that Jon and his fellow survivors aren’t concentrating on the bigger issues. Jon himself isn’t particularly likeable and doesn’t possess any qualities that make him particularly apocalypse handy. This makes him a lot easier to identify with, but not perhaps one that we are going to care too much about. There are no real heart strings being tugged here.
As it would seem that THE LAST is a natural progression to a clown being in the White House, this is the scariest take home from this read. We’ve all thought about that in the last few years too. Dystopian thrillers these days only have to look to Twitter or Reddit to find a fertile source of material, and THE LAST spins a very credible tale of how our existence actually needs very little to happen in order for it to be forever altered.
BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington.
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead.
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.
Jon Keller was on a trip to Switzerland when the world ended. More than anything he wishes he hadn't ignored his wife Nadia's last message. Twenty people remain in Jon's hotel. Far from the nearest city, they wait, they survive.
Then one day, the body of a girl is found. It's clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer... As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate.
But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what happens if the killer doesn't want to be found?