Steve Booth and Harry Shannon have done it again. 'The Wrath of God', their second offering in the Sheriff Penny Miller series reviewed by The Bookie Monster, has done the unthinkable; the sequel is arguably as good, if not better, than their first book 'The Hungry'.
Las Vegas has had a mass exodus and the entire state of Nevada has been placed under quarantine. In return for their freedom, Penny and her band of misfits are handed an offer they can't refuse. After a month of protective custody, they've been given a mission to retrieve sensitive data from ground zero which promises a real cure for Penny. The only hitch...in twenty-six hours, the facility will be nuked. Penny, her ex-husband Terrill Lee, ex-biker felon turned almost good guy Scratch, and scientist Karl Sheppard are joined by an elite military team led by Major Francine 'Rat' Hanratty in the race against time. An introduction of a second alpha female turns into a struggle for power between Penny and Rat.
'The Wrath of God' continues the story in third person narrative, but there is an added sense of urgency as each chapter begins with a countdown clock. When the clock strikes zero Nevada will go boom, killing everything and everyone that remains. With tension so thick it could be cut with a knife, the building anticipation lurking behind every shadowed corner will leave readers on the edge of their seats. The zombies appear to be getting smarter, displaying the ability to work in concert to strategize and ambush victims.
Penny, the main protagonist, is as snarky as ever. While she has finally gotten some new clothes, the tattered wedding gown is anything but forgotten. The sexual tension between Scratch and Penny is building like a pressure cooker, but when a shocking accusation is made, Penny's faith, and trust, is shaken. New conflicts are introduced; bringing with them some creative antagonists. Some are fairly obvious, while others will blind-side readers with their deceit.
The authors have crafted Penny to be a well thought out and fully realized character. What makes Penny such a strong lead isn't the super human abilities that allowed her to best a zombie horde, but her strength to endure. In the face of fear and devastating losses she maintains the inner strength to lead and protect others where most would give up. She will stand up to anyone and fight for anything to save herself and those in her charge. Of course the ability to kill a group of zombies with the arm she's torn off of one of them doesn't hurt. Forget the pen, the arm is mightier than the sword.