Kera and Rand Priven must journey 2,500 miles across their country, trying desperately to find and protect their children. It is good they cannot foresee the horrors before them.
In a troubled marriage, the Privens live with their children, Andrew and Alissa, in New York City. As an up-and-coming fashion photographer, Rand is obsessed with making a name, and a lot of money—to the point of neglecting his family. Kera slips into a frustrated and lonely disillusionment; she yearns for a simpler more meaningful family life. Planning to confront and possibly divorce Rand, she sends the children to a respected summer camp. Her timing couldn't be worse.
Shocking events unfold as independent groups plotting against the United States successfully breach national security, attack military installations, and wreak havoc on public infrastructure: the system breaks down. All services stop… no lights, no flights, no food, no gas… nothing. Law enforcement and armed forces seem unable to contain this terrorism or... revolution. Lawlessness spreads, seemingly overnight.
What chance do these two average, unprepared, and conflicted people have for surviving such a hostile situation? Will the challenge pull them together or rip them further apart? Who will they meet on their journey across America? What will they learn? Will they ever see their children again?
I consider myself to be extremely lucky lately with the great books that authors have been sending me to review for them on my blog! ACROSS THE DESPERATE MILES is no exception!
Patrick Michael Murphy was able to gain my interest in his novel within the first few pages based on his incredible writing style alone! It flows smoothly, is descriptive without being wordy, and brings the character's personalities out in a way that makes them feel like people you might chance to run into!
At first I had major problems with Randy (or Rand as he liked to call himself). He's arrogant and assuming, plus he treats his family like crap. He's so caught up in making his photography studio make it big, that he starts to behave like he's too good for those around him. His wife Kera began their relationship with the same goals in mind as her husband, but as time went on her family (two children) became more important to her than the fast paced, hostile world as a model/photographer. She decided she wanted out, and Rand really had not forgiven her for it. Things come to a head when she decides to leave him, and sends the kids away to save them from seeing any drama that may occur, while she figures out what to do with her marriage.
Then you could say, "shit hits the fan." The "terrorist" groups that are attacking America are radical militant groups who want to take government rule back into the people's hands. Kera and Rand end up crossing the country in order to get to their children during this chaotic time, and this is where the real adventure begins. Kera really begins to show her mettle after her and Rand are seperated, and Rand really begins to grow as a person.
During the cross country adventure I really began to connect with Rand. Through all of the hardships he faced while trying to get to his wife and kids, he began to really think about what was important in life. He began to get his priorities straight and to see how absent of a father and husband he had been. Both Kera and Rand go through some terrible situations, and these situations definitely made this novel a page turner! I had trouble putting the book down once I got a few chapters into it, because I didn't know from page to page whether or not they would even survive! From a group of dirty hill billy radicals attacking them, to a war happening right in the middle of the United States between the National Guard and the Radical Militant group, and on to Indians coming out of nowhere with knives; it is definitely an adventure story, and Murphy comes up with some incredibly original predicaments!
At times I thought it was a little over the top, and I started thinking; "What's next, aliens?" Now looking back I think this crazy unpredictability definitely added to my inability to put the book down. I just knew that if I didn't keep reading, I'd have to wait until later on for the next crazy, adventurous wonderfully descriptive sequence of events!
Also, I was a little annoyed with how the novel ended, only because I was rooting for it to end one way, and then it ended in a way I would have NEVER guessed. In a way I guess you can consider that a good thing, because as a reader it definitely had that "HOLY CRAP" feeling at the end!
I would definitely recommend this novel to any of my readers. It has all the elements of a great story, and some of the political situations that are focused on in this novel are pretty interesting to think about.
I would give this novel 4 out of 5 stars.
(GIVEAWAY INSTRUCTIONS BELOW INTERVIEW!)
BLOG INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR PATRICK MICHAEL
1. Tell us a little bit about your novel, Across the Desperate Miles?
Across the Desperate Miles is the current-day story of Kera and Rand Priven, a young couple who must journey across
to find and protect their children. The catch is, they are not getting along, at all, and, America is in the throws of a revolution brought about by outside and inside forces. There is war and anarchy within our borders. The systems have shut down. They are completely on their own. It’s a story of transformation and survival. America
2. Who might your story appeal to? I have had very positive feedback from 20somethings to 70somethings. I think it does well with contemporary fiction readers as well as action/adventure, thriller, military history, political readers, pop culture… and anyone wondering about the direction and future of the United States (and world really). The book is on Amazon and I don’t really know anything about the people who purchase it, but it seems to appeal to readers on many levels.
3. How did you get started writing?
I started writing as a teen. I then joined the Army as a cameraman and travelled the world at a peaceful time, photographing pretty much anything I wanted, and a few things I didn’t want. I did very well there and in civilian life, won a couple Emmys for my photography and writing, but two decades later I was burned out on it and wanted to turn my own writing into a career. I am not going to say it’s been easy, but I am going to say it’s been a challenge and a lot of fun.
4. Do you have a process for writing?
Let’s see. I am a fairly disciplined guy in many ways. But. There’s always that but, isn’t there? In filmmaking I learned about formulas and used them until I became sick of them. I saw the ruin of formulas and yet, it seemed, everything was being done with them, especially TV and screenplays. I began experimenting, and had some great success. I think we are all so inundated with media that new approaches are often not new at all. But for me, the idea is to not simply recreate what you or others have done. Use courage. Go out on your own and believe in yourself. So I have used time-tested approaches for writing screenplays, essays, novels, and poetry, but my process is really to consider deeply what the piece is about and let it go its own way… within reason. I take long periods off between writing projects. But when I am writing I get obsessive. At least through a draft. Across the Desperate Miles was first written in the late nineties. Before the horror of 9/11. I sent it out a few times back then and then I shelved it. When I took it out again several months ago, at the urging of Jan Takac, my new editor, I planned to read it just to let her see it. But when I opened it all this new energy came out and with Jan’s help I tightened it and rewrote two more times. So, I am not saying part of my process is to let a manuscript sit for 10 years, but this story is much better for the wait.
5. How do you stay inspired to write?
That can be difficult for many writers. But, in life, there is so much to look at and consider. It helps to also have a deep desire to communicate and be understood. If you’re feeling uninspired… travel. Look. Listen. Question. Go anywhere but your everyday places. I get bored, depressed, angry. I think we need to be ourselves, but look for the positive, and definitely use every emotion and every question that has ever come through you to help you create stories.
6. Do you have favourite authors?
Larry McMurtry, Wallace Stegner, Deepak Chopra, Peter Matthiessen, Earnest Hemmingway and a lot of others. I also enjoy newer writers but the earlier ones helped shape me as a person and maybe as a writer..
7. What would you tell budding writers thinking of making it a career?
First off, I haven’t actually made it as a career writer. I am still working on that. But I do know, years pass quickly. I have always been impatient. Perhaps that is our worst enemy, impatience. Yes, go, yes, do, but also be patient with who you are, who you are with, and what you do. Listen, watch, learn. It’s worth it. Write the pieces you have said time and again you want to write. Take it a word, sentence, paragraph and page at a time. Enjoy. This is your life. Make good stories. Remember, reader’s time and money is valuable—so make what you write worth their investment. Let the career happen.
9. What are you working on at the moment?
Publicizing Across the Desperate Miles. And a collection of essays about nature, outdoor adventures, and planet earth. This will be out on Amazon in a couple months. Then, I have another novel that needs a rewrite.
ACROSS THE DESPERATE MILES::
Patrick Michael Murphy, author of Across the Desperate Miles has graciously offered to provide two of my blog followers with copies of his novel. He will be providing ONE paperback copy as well as ONE ebook copy.
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GIVEAWAY WILL END JUNE 8th!
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