A fast-paced, gripping dystopian drama….
Toomey’s briskly paced, high action, debut war drama is a sensitively handled story filled with thoroughly sketched, three-dimensional characters at heart. Twenty-two-year-old Heather Zlamanowski, an amputee and a primitivist with deadly secrets, is content to live as a hermit in an isolated forest to avoid further damage and loss. But when a young girl arrives, seeking Heather’s help, the latter is forced to venture out of her primitive abode and face a vicious enemy who wants her secrets at any cost. Heather must tame the war dogs in her path and the demons in her head or risk losing herself to the war-torn world. There’s underlying complexity to Toomey’s characters: Toomey tells his protagonist’s story with genuine emotion that resonates as much as Heather’s (as well as other amputees’) plucky personality inspires. Despite losing two limbs to mysterious circumstances, acute physical and emotional sufferings, and relentless isolation, Heather never let her resolve waver. Terrence Boyce who refuses to let Heather retreat into self-pity or isolation makes his place in readers’ hearts with his caring and easy demeanor. Captain Elias Lombardi comes out as a formidable figure with his brutality and sadistic ways. Without sugarcoating or overdramatizing Heather or other disable characters’ circumstances, Toomey skillfully brings out the mental anguish of survivors deeply affected by trauma. Despite Toomey’s exploration of the sensitive theme of disability, the novel is essentially an action-packed thriller. The fictional setting of a war-torn world imparts a dystopian feel to the story. Lovers of fast-paced, high action dystopian fiction will be rewarded.