#Review: Collapse, by @RStephenson5

Title: Collapse (New America #1)
Author: Richard Stephenson
Rating: 4/5 stars

“BOOK ONE in the NEW AMERICA series.

What would it take for the United States to fall from within? In a not too distant future, America is put to the test. With the American people deep in The Second Great Depression and two of the most powerful hurricanes on record to contend with, the United States is in no condition to deal with hidden terrorists on its soil, maniacal politicians, and the most formidable military threat the world has seen since the Third Reich. 

This is the story of three men from three very different walks of life: Howard Beck, the world’s richest man, also diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome; Richard Dupree, ex-Navy SEAL turned escaped convict; and Maxwell Harris, a crippled, burned-out chief of police of a small Texas town. At first, they must overcome their own struggles and fight for their survival against impossible odds. In the end, the unlikely trio must band together to save their beloved country from COLLAPSE

Empires topple. Nations crumble. Civilization is fragile. In 2027, America will fall.” (description from Goodreads)

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This book has been on my to-be-read list for a long time, and I’m very happy to finally get the chance to read it. What I find missing in some dystopian books that I read is the beginning of the new way of life. Many books start years later with a character/resistance to take down the wicked government. Collapse is a novel that’ll bring the reader through the entire process of how America deteriorates and falls, as well as how a new government rises.

What I enjoyed most about this novel was that, as I said, it takes the reader through the fall of one nation and the rise of a new one. (I don’t feel this is a spoiler due to the New America series title and what’s said in the description.) Even though it’s known that the outcome of this book probably won’t be positive, the journey to the end is filled with much to enjoy. The book follows the struggles of a few group’s of American in the Second Great Depression. These interlaced stories about very different characters can be books all by themselves. That’s how much detail and planning seems to have gone into telling their stories. Stephenson is also able to jump around from story to story without me getting tripped up much of the time. That’s always an obstacle when carrying along with a few storylines in one book.

Whether others agree or not, I felt that much of what happens in this novel could actually happen some years down the road. For me, the fact that I could picture some of this being actual history at some point in the near future added to the emotions of the book. Some details are obviously exaggerated or too “out there” but overall, I see realism in Collapse and that enhances the “horror” these characters face. As with many dystopian books, the ability to fear realism from a book makes me enjoy it that much more. Maybe I’m just sick and enjoy reading about a dark near future, though.

The only real issues I had was that at some points in the book, the story was moved along by things out, rather than allowing the story to move things along. In this I mean some sections were written as “This happened. Then this and this. Followed by…” It wasn’t too troubling, but there were strong sections in this book, and these others were a bit dull. With as much detail of characters, events, and other elements that this book had, it’s expected that some things are glossed over though.

Book 2, Resistance, is on my Kindle now (as well as the short story Spider). I’m looking forward to the next installment of the New America series.  If it’s anything like Collapse, I’ll find it hard to put down.

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You can grab a copy of this book from Amazon in the following formats:

Kindle | Print | Audible

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About the Author:

Richard Stephenson was born in 1975 in Denison, TX and spent his childhood in North Texas. In 1992, he graduated high school after only three years. He then pursued his degree at Oklahoma Christian University, once again accomplishing the task in three years. Richard then married his best friend before going off to basic training to be a military policeman with the US Army. With his new wife joining the adventure, they spent the next four years at Fort Polk, LA and had two children.

Just before his son turned five, Richard and his wife were told that their oldest child had Asperger’s Syndrome. Nine years later, Richard’s son would become the inspiration for the character of Howard Beck.

After leaving the armed forces, Richard continued his law enforcement career in the federal sector and has been with the Department of Justice for thirteen years.

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