An intriguing tale of hope, faith, and survival…
O’Neal’s engrossing latest combines elements of fast-paced thriller with an unsettling sci-fi what-if scenario of a pandemic variant of lethal COVID-19 wreaking havoc in America. It’s late 2025. The world is still getting used to COVID-19 upturning peoples’ lives. America is fractured, with a county-by-county scoring system in practice, which is based on number of virus infections and vaccination levels. When a seemingly deadly Omega Variant emerges, various conspiracy theories begin to spread, and a private militia group set out to take over the country. The hyper-current story begins five years after the COVID-19 pandemic first became known, imagining a realistically dark socio-political scenario. The fictional world O’Neal builds is unsettlingly devastating, with the story becoming grimmer as the narrative moves forward. Multiple characters—including a group of violent extremists—are hard to keep track of in the beginning, with their backstories getting in the way of pacing, but once the different threads come together, the novel picks up momentum and never slows down. Though the character development is somewhat on the thin side, the tender connection that grows between Jimmy, Big Al, and DeSantos as they try to stay alive throughout their ordeal is skillfully done. Similarly, O’Neal uses Bobby’s retrospection into his father’s decision of not taking vaccination both as character development and plot device. He draws skillful parallels between his fictional American politics and real-world issues, deftly navigating the difficult topics of class and racial disparity, rise of violent extremism and conspiracy theories, drug abuse, poverty, and addiction. Lovers of fast-paced sci-fi thrillers will find plenty to enjoy in this engrossing tale.
The Omega Variant
(The Apocalyptic Series Book 3)
Pub date February 8, 2022
Price $15.95 (USD) Paperback, $0.00