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Who will survive the darkness? Life in a remote oceanfront town begins to spiral downward after a massive solar flare causes a global blackout. As planes fall from the sky, cars suddenly die, and most electrical devices stop working with catastrophic consequences. But the loss of electrical power is just the first of the problems facing the survivors. In the chaos, that fo Who will survive the darkness? Life in a remote oceanfront town begins to spiral downward after a massive solar flare causes a global blackout. As planes fall from the sky, cars suddenly die, and most electrical devices stop working with catastrophic consequences. But the loss of electrical power is just the first of the problems facing the survivors. In the chaos, that follows. An ordinary man helplessly watches the world around him begin to breakdown. While the thin veneer of normalcy stubbornly shrouds the coming collapse. Scott Montgomery discovers the truth; not just about the extent of damage to the world's infrastructure but also the drastic plans one shadowy group has for regaining control. A shockingly realistic look at how society copes when the world is thrust back to a time before electricity. It is brutal, deadly and largely fact-based storytelling. Scott and his new friends battle to save their town and themselves. They cannot avoid the steadily growing number of people who have realized that they can get away with whatever they want in a world where there are no longer any legal consequences for their actions. Adding to the problems is an elite para-military organization pursuing a draconian plan to ensure their vision for the new world with deadly consequences.


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Who will survive the darkness? Life in a remote oceanfront town begins to spiral downward after a massive solar flare causes a global blackout. As planes fall from the sky, cars suddenly die, and most electrical devices stop working with catastrophic consequences. But the loss of electrical power is just the first of the problems facing the survivors. In the chaos, that fo Who will survive the darkness? Life in a remote oceanfront town begins to spiral downward after a massive solar flare causes a global blackout. As planes fall from the sky, cars suddenly die, and most electrical devices stop working with catastrophic consequences. But the loss of electrical power is just the first of the problems facing the survivors. In the chaos, that follows. An ordinary man helplessly watches the world around him begin to breakdown. While the thin veneer of normalcy stubbornly shrouds the coming collapse. Scott Montgomery discovers the truth; not just about the extent of damage to the world's infrastructure but also the drastic plans one shadowy group has for regaining control. A shockingly realistic look at how society copes when the world is thrust back to a time before electricity. It is brutal, deadly and largely fact-based storytelling. Scott and his new friends battle to save their town and themselves. They cannot avoid the steadily growing number of people who have realized that they can get away with whatever they want in a world where there are no longer any legal consequences for their actions. Adding to the problems is an elite para-military organization pursuing a draconian plan to ensure their vision for the new world with deadly consequences.

30 review for Downward Cycle

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Sagan

    Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. * There's nothing I love more than to read about the desolation of human society, be it after an EMP, a CME, the eruption of a volcano, economic collapse, aliens, vampires or zombies. I love seeing how people react to that - the little prepper in me, ha - and how the realization slowly creeps in. * Downward Cycle is a slow burn that starts with a solar flare that fries up the power grid. Oh, how I love a good dystopia Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. * There's nothing I love more than to read about the desolation of human society, be it after an EMP, a CME, the eruption of a volcano, economic collapse, aliens, vampires or zombies. I love seeing how people react to that - the little prepper in me, ha - and how the realization slowly creeps in. * Downward Cycle is a slow burn that starts with a solar flare that fries up the power grid. Oh, how I love a good dystopia. While there were a few moments that felt a bit deus ex machina, this book felt like coming home for the little prepper in me and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. Also, I love the idea of the Catalyst plan - sounds pretty real to me. I'm glad to have found another author who writes this genre. * It reminded me of One Second After by William R. Forstchen and of The Stand by Stephen King.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nick Brett

    Maybe the wrong time to read a post-apocalyptic novel. Solar activity fries world-wide power, so after intermittent shortages, people are left to fend for themselves without power or Government support. A small town does its best to cope, eventually headed up by the book’s cycling hero and his cronies who have some survivalist and military skills. Starts off too slow as we see the crisis but are also lectured to as to how to prepare and survive. Too much detail and not overly interesting. Things g Maybe the wrong time to read a post-apocalyptic novel. Solar activity fries world-wide power, so after intermittent shortages, people are left to fend for themselves without power or Government support. A small town does its best to cope, eventually headed up by the book’s cycling hero and his cronies who have some survivalist and military skills. Starts off too slow as we see the crisis but are also lectured to as to how to prepare and survive. Too much detail and not overly interesting. Things get more interesting as society breaks down and everyone has to pull together and defend what is theirs against the inevitable bad guys both domestic and Governmental. Credit for not following the usual roaming gangs route but not enough in this to make me want to read more in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Boring, senseless A boring book. Started off okay but was dragging soon afterwards. Scott is a character that at the beginning seems likeable and gets less likeable every time he speaks more than 10 word, everything g he says is like a lecture or a speech, that is dragged out and pointless Statistics quoted are ridiculous “ 300 million would be dead in the US alone as a result of having no electricity”. ?!?! Within a week “ tens of millions of people were already getting sick and dying from lack o Boring, senseless A boring book. Started off okay but was dragging soon afterwards. Scott is a character that at the beginning seems likeable and gets less likeable every time he speaks more than 10 word, everything g he says is like a lecture or a speech, that is dragged out and pointless Statistics quoted are ridiculous “ 300 million would be dead in the US alone as a result of having no electricity”. ?!?! Within a week “ tens of millions of people were already getting sick and dying from lack of clean water” in the USA The live where they complain about the heat.. Tallahassee is 200 miles away (that’s Florida) but they worry about freezing in the winter. And they have no fresh produce by late October??? What the heck.. plant seeds, grow food! I live in Northern Canada and have easily weathered 10 days cut off with no electricity when it was -25. Then religious zealots show u, and government conspiracies and a biological weapon that will make zombies. Duh. Stupid senseless garbage that is boring and goes on and on and on.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Landpomeranze

    The first book in 2019 I could not force myself to finish. I love a good survival story, I've read quite a few and this one promised the story of "an ordinary man". And he is so ordinary that his networking setup was unique and he still hat access to the internet when everybody else didn't. And of course Scott's serious computer expert who's worked for government. Oh yeah, our hero's brother is a "prepper" and made sure that Scott had nifty things like water filters and stuff close at hand . Whe The first book in 2019 I could not force myself to finish. I love a good survival story, I've read quite a few and this one promised the story of "an ordinary man". And he is so ordinary that his networking setup was unique and he still hat access to the internet when everybody else didn't. And of course Scott's serious computer expert who's worked for government. Oh yeah, our hero's brother is a "prepper" and made sure that Scott had nifty things like water filters and stuff close at hand . When Scott goes shopping and meets 3 guys, one of them a priest and one "runs the county mechanical shop and is our resident doomsday prepper" I could not take it anymore, 12 chapters was more than enough time wasted.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nolan

    I received this book from the author in return for an honest review. My thanks to him for sharing his book in an accessible format, thereby enabling me to read it with Voice Dream Reader on my iPad. What you need to know about this book is that it is as gripping and realistic as I can comprehend such a book being. I was pulled in from the first paragraph, and so compelling is it that I grumbled about having to endure the adversities of life like a hot shower or the consumption of a plate of food. I received this book from the author in return for an honest review. My thanks to him for sharing his book in an accessible format, thereby enabling me to read it with Voice Dream Reader on my iPad. What you need to know about this book is that it is as gripping and realistic as I can comprehend such a book being. I was pulled in from the first paragraph, and so compelling is it that I grumbled about having to endure the adversities of life like a hot shower or the consumption of a plate of food. And that brings me to my thoughts on the plot: Scott is an introvert of the first order. He's a computer consultant who can work from home. Home is a small cottage on the gulf coast in Mississippi. His only marriage ended brutally, and since then, he's had no real relationships with anyone to speak of. He has a brother and sister-in-law whom he clearly loves but is far from expressive about it. He's a nice guy--a guy who would much rather avoid confrontation than deal with it head-on. But you like him from that first rotation of his bike wheel you witness. He's a nice guy; so well written is this book that you instantly become Scott's friend, and because Scott changes while remaining consistent to his core values, you continue to enjoy the friendship. Things change on that first day during that first bike ride. That's when Scott notices a difference in the sky; he sees planes behaving erratically. Electricity is out, and his initial assumption is that whatever the anomaly is, it will end soon. But it doesn't. Scott soon realizes that the nation has been struck by a massive solar storm that has crippled the power grid and rendered most vehicles and most GPS devices useless. There are exceptions--older vehicles less dependent on poorly shielded electronics and somehow covered vehicles sometimes escape the worst of the electrical damage. This, then, is the story of a small Mississippi town and its gradual descent into horror and chaos and the efforts of a few good people like Scott, his friends Todd and Bartos. The author describes in chilling detail not only the impact of long-term power disruptions but a governmental plan designed to deliberately allow the nation's major cities to fall into blood-flowing chaos and deliberately reduce the population. Known as Catalyst, the plan and its architects would use the power grid failure to alter the constitution and reduce the population. Readers will compare this to Forsgen's books, and while that's a natural comparison to make, you need to be careful about adopting a "read one, read'em all" approach. That's just not so with this series and with this first book in the series. Franks is a truly talented writer; indeed, if talent could be transmogrified into electricity, Franks could light the world effortlessly. What drew me to the book was the realistic dialogue. He truly communicates the way men, and particularly brothers, would communicate. There's nothing forced or unnatural about any of the dialogue here; and because of that, the relationships described are more meaningful and memorable than they otherwise would be. At one point, Scott is forced to reach out to his new friends and seek their help in rescuing his niece from a university apparently in control of shadowy paramilitary types. The entire book is gripping, and I was impressed with what felt like good research behind the fiction. Those who are convinced that government will ultimately step up as a first responder and solve problems during a nationwide emergency will find this book almost untenable. I think it's a rather accurate depiction of how things will happen when our already threadbare social restraints completely unravel. There's an optimism in this book that I enthusiastically endorse. I think the United States will ultimately pass whatever tests are flung at it, but it will be vastly changed in the process. This is a timely well-written book that won't get much attention from a lot of readers, and that's unfortunate. I came away from the book a bit shaken, all too certain that someone who relies on a guide dog to get from point A to point B and who read this book using speech synthesis will surely be among the early dead in a scenario like the one the author describes. Without veterinarians to provide rabies vaccines, we will again face the fears of those on the American frontier who routinely killed rabid animals and who were themselves subjected to the incurable hell that is rabies. So, so many hidden things would result from this scenario that we haven't even thought of--or most of us haven't. The author was kind enough to provide me with an audio copy of the next book in the series, which I'll review here soon.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Exciting and utterly absorbing, “Downward Cycle” opens with a massive solar flare the magnitude of which hasn’t been seen since 1859 which causes a global catastrophe with downed planes, electrical power outages and cars dying. As the world’s infrastructure dies, crimes and deaths rise computer geek, Scott Montgomery seeking refuge in a cottage in Harris Springs Mississippi after a messy divorce knows he must make the right choices if he’s to survive. But as a computer consultant for Homeland Se Exciting and utterly absorbing, “Downward Cycle” opens with a massive solar flare the magnitude of which hasn’t been seen since 1859 which causes a global catastrophe with downed planes, electrical power outages and cars dying. As the world’s infrastructure dies, crimes and deaths rise computer geek, Scott Montgomery seeking refuge in a cottage in Harris Springs Mississippi after a messy divorce knows he must make the right choices if he’s to survive. But as a computer consultant for Homeland Security he quickly learns that the disaster may have far-reaching implications with a mysterious group within the government having prior knowledge of the event and willingly enacting a plan that could result in the death of thousands. A loner who finds solace in riding his bike, Scott inadvertently makes friends with Preacher Jack, local fisherman Todd and the county equipment manager Bartos who join forces not only for survival but to save the town. As social unrest rises, rights and privileges of the people denied, and justice is swift and deadly Scott not only works with his friends to protect the people of Harris Springs but goes on a mission to save his niece at a University miles away, discovering an ongoing research program into a biological weapon that could destroy humanity. Fast-paced and action-packed with volatile confrontations intensity and suspense quickly escalate with the release of criminals from prison; the use of kids as decoys to steal cars; and violent confrontations with a paramilitary unit on the University campus and with criminals in town. With twists including the erosion of Scott’s ethics as he fights back as well as a tragic death, this intriguing plot flows steadily to an explosive climax near the end and a discovery that begs for a sequel. Among the compelling and complex characters in this starkly realistic plot is Scott Montgomery a cyclist and hardworking computer consultant who takes refugee in a family cottage after a disastrous marriage and divorce. A highly intelligent introvert who’s wary of people and stressed out, he becomes resilient, resourceful and brave. Todd, Jack and Bartos are his open, honest and trustworthy friends whose common sense and loyalty encourages and supports Scott helping him become a leader. Yet it’s the ruthlessness of a thug like Tyrell and the power-hunger and ambitions of manipulative, devious Councilman Ronald Hansborough that add to the dark and brutal atmosphere as survival takes a deadly turn. I really enjoyed “Downward Cycle” a post-apocalyptic story that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end and I look forward to reading the next book in the “Catalyst” series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Robert Chapman

    This is the first book in the Catalyst series. Downward is a very honest look into life after the lights go out and familiar comforts are no more. What makes this book unique is how the main characters discover that a group within the traditional government power structure has been planning for life after an apocalyptic event. The story moves from initial shock about the Catalyst plan to a tentative acceptance of the raw and brutal logic it follows. I'm looking forward to book of this series. This is the first book in the Catalyst series. Downward is a very honest look into life after the lights go out and familiar comforts are no more. What makes this book unique is how the main characters discover that a group within the traditional government power structure has been planning for life after an apocalyptic event. The story moves from initial shock about the Catalyst plan to a tentative acceptance of the raw and brutal logic it follows. I'm looking forward to book of this series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Raymond Clause

    Wow! Great book. I immediately got into this book. Great writing and interesting story line. I’ve read a few books on EMP before and this is one on my favorites now. I recommend this book if your into realistic dystopian stories.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Donna Taylor

    I’ve never been a Dooms Day type person and have about as much in common with a “Prepper” as a love child from the seventies would. Well, boys and girls, this book officially scared the “peace and love” right out of me. I’m ready to start planning my bugout bag and stashing supplies in hidden locations. I love a good post-apocalyptic story, but let’s be honest, most of them are centered on some pandemic killing off most of the Earth’s population but a lucky few. In the Catalyst story JK Franks la I’ve never been a Dooms Day type person and have about as much in common with a “Prepper” as a love child from the seventies would. Well, boys and girls, this book officially scared the “peace and love” right out of me. I’m ready to start planning my bugout bag and stashing supplies in hidden locations. I love a good post-apocalyptic story, but let’s be honest, most of them are centered on some pandemic killing off most of the Earth’s population but a lucky few. In the Catalyst story JK Franks lays out a plausible scenario for the downfall of our world from a CME, Coronal Mass Ejection. In other words, our Sun throws a heck of an EMP at us during one of its massive solar storms. This isn’t science fiction, it has happened in the past, just not to the extent played out in this story. Franks gives enough truth to make the fiction feel not so fictiony (yep, new word, put it in your dictionary ;-)). Franks does a terrific job of showing the disintegration of humanity after the lights go out. It’s all too easy to picture the reactions portrayed in the story by people conditioned to having machines available at the flip of a switch, food lined up on shelves, and a government ready to rush in and take care of them when disaster strikes. Being a member of a New Guinea tribe doesn’t look so bad after reading this book. Our protagonist, Scott, is a loner but smart enough to figure out no one is going to survive for long on their own. He’s a reluctant hero who does the hard things to try and save his small part of the world with a few friends he makes in the new, savage world that surrounds them. Scott, an IT specialist who works for the government, comes across a secret plan the US has in place to be implemented in just such a disaster as a CME. It’s not pretty, people. Book one is filled with building the new world and the conditions facing the community of Harris Springs, Mississippi. There are glimpses of what is happening in the larger cities. We get a closer look at the chaos in those cities when Scott has to undertake a dangerous rescue some distance from his little small community. There are also hints of a bio threat being released into the world. I’m sure there will be much more on that in book two and I’m looking forward to getting the pants scared off me by the next book in the series. Is the story perfect? In my opinion no. There is a little too much emphasis on the dry list of supplies and steps taken to insure long term survival. Necessary ingredients for a good story but not in such detail. I would have liked more emotional depth in the characters, but that’s just me and might not be the same for everyone. I will definitely read the next couple books in the series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steven L Lepper

    Too much I had high hopes but...it has everything but the.kitchen sink. I liked the characters and if the story would have stayed with the CME idea I probably would have given it a 4.5 but I give it 2 stars. Take the CME, add a hurricane, thousands of post apocalyptic religious zealots, a 'zombie' pandemic and a century's old government conspiracy plus some sci fi genetic experiments and it was too much for me. I skipped pages of explaining how the pandemic virus works (we get a lot of details ex Too much I had high hopes but...it has everything but the.kitchen sink. I liked the characters and if the story would have stayed with the CME idea I probably would have given it a 4.5 but I give it 2 stars. Take the CME, add a hurricane, thousands of post apocalyptic religious zealots, a 'zombie' pandemic and a century's old government conspiracy plus some sci fi genetic experiments and it was too much for me. I skipped pages of explaining how the pandemic virus works (we get a lot of details explained to us). I also thought that the African American characters seemed to speak rather uneducated, maybe it was an attempt to write with a 'southern accent ' but it didn't come across that way to me. And for God's sake they're magazines not "clips".

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tony Duxbury

    This is a well written novel of the downfall of mankind. What I liked about it was that it wasn't caused by nuclear war or a virus and there weren't any zombies. It is based on a real and very possible event. Something science has known and warned about for some time. Scott Montgomery is licking his wounds and hiding from the world after his divorce. He has taken up residence in the family holiday home on the Gulf. Because he is a computer geek he can make a comfortable living from home. He is a This is a well written novel of the downfall of mankind. What I liked about it was that it wasn't caused by nuclear war or a virus and there weren't any zombies. It is based on a real and very possible event. Something science has known and warned about for some time. Scott Montgomery is licking his wounds and hiding from the world after his divorce. He has taken up residence in the family holiday home on the Gulf. Because he is a computer geek he can make a comfortable living from home. He is a man who doesn't want or need anybody else, until the electricity fails. At first, like everyone else, he doesn't worry about it, but as time passes he digs a little deeper. As a computer consultant with Homeland Security he is able to access more information than others. What he finds out shocks him. The event that knocked out the power worldwide was anticipated and his government have no plans to help their citizens. Scott busily makes plans for long term survival and he is joined by several others from the small town in which he lives. Like everyone else, his world has been turned upside down, but he is determined to meet the challenge, even if it means great and unwelcome changes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shanna Tidwell

    I read a lot of books like this. Sometimes the stories & characters are almost interchangeable. NOT so in this case. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are beautifully written. The story & plot is very well thought out. I was entertained & also learned some things. I loved how Scott learned & grew so much. How he was the reluctant hero. I loved how he struggled with what is right & what should be. If you are looking for a book to introduce you to the SHTF genre this would be a great I read a lot of books like this. Sometimes the stories & characters are almost interchangeable. NOT so in this case. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are beautifully written. The story & plot is very well thought out. I was entertained & also learned some things. I loved how Scott learned & grew so much. How he was the reluctant hero. I loved how he struggled with what is right & what should be. If you are looking for a book to introduce you to the SHTF genre this would be a great one to start with. This is a story & world I can’t wait to revisit. I was voluntarily provided this review copy at no charge by the author, publisher and or narrator.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kacie

    This audiobook was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review in exchange. I wanted to like this book. I love a realistic end of the world scenario. Downward Cycle presents a story of a solar flare that causes electricity to not work... sometimes. Scott, a tech-geek cyclist, stockpiles as much as he can before shit hits the fan. Then shit hits the fan. There was clearly a lot of research done before this book was written and I appreciate the author trying to maintain This audiobook was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review in exchange. I wanted to like this book. I love a realistic end of the world scenario. Downward Cycle presents a story of a solar flare that causes electricity to not work... sometimes. Scott, a tech-geek cyclist, stockpiles as much as he can before shit hits the fan. Then shit hits the fan. There was clearly a lot of research done before this book was written and I appreciate the author trying to maintain as much realism as possible. And one thing I really liked about this book was that for the first quarter of it, the main character was really unsure of the impact of the solar flare. Society still operated somewhat normally and tried to continue on as long as possible before it collapsed. I feel like that was the most realistic thing about this book. There were some times I really had to suspend my disbelief to make it through. I can admit that I don't know a lot about solar flares, so maybe some of the things that happen are more realistic than I give them credit for. And under other circumstances, I wouldn't be as critical because this is a fiction book. But it's advertised and reviewed for its hyper-realism so I expected more from it. Overall, it was an interesting take on the end of the world. There is enough story there that I was entertained, and I can see how future books could get interesting with government conspiracies, mysterious research being done on a mutated, engineered tuberculous virus, and trying to keep a small town alive. However, I will not be continuing on that journey. This book was interesting enough for me to finish.. but just barely.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review. Downward Cycle was a good start on what looks to be an exciting series. The plot revolves around a CME hitting earth, a solar flare with EMP effects, which causes the failure of electrical devices and the collapse of society. It somewhat reminds me of the television series Revolution. Quite a bit of the book comes across as a guide to prepping which sounds boring, but the author did this in a way which was ent This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review. Downward Cycle was a good start on what looks to be an exciting series. The plot revolves around a CME hitting earth, a solar flare with EMP effects, which causes the failure of electrical devices and the collapse of society. It somewhat reminds me of the television series Revolution. Quite a bit of the book comes across as a guide to prepping which sounds boring, but the author did this in a way which was entertaining. After all the prep work the story picks up about halfway through but this is still definitely the first book of a series with more buildup than plotline. I do however look forward to seeing where this series is going and will follow up with the next book. The one criticism I have is that I had to suspend belief on some aspects of the book. Quite a bit of the story revolves around the protagonist being a computer nerd (which I am as well) and still periodically having access to communications and the internet through various means. I’m not sure of all the science but this didn’t really make sense to me if there was an actual CME. There was one part involving Amazon that I even said “really” to myself out loud. With that said though it is a work of fiction and it kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen next. I listened to the audio book. I found Steven Varnum to be an excellent narrator. He set the tone of the story and really changed up the voices for each character, so I always knew who was talking.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bob Platypire

    I was approached by this author to check out the third book in this series. While he offered the first two as well, I like to support authors when I am able, and have become more dependent on Audio to get my book fix. So, I bought this for myself on a gamble that I'd like it. And do you know what? I DID! This was great! While not completely action-packed (there were moments of slower-paced life, which I fully enjoy in a book), it was still thrilling and kept me hooked throughout. I don't know if I was approached by this author to check out the third book in this series. While he offered the first two as well, I like to support authors when I am able, and have become more dependent on Audio to get my book fix. So, I bought this for myself on a gamble that I'd like it. And do you know what? I DID! This was great! While not completely action-packed (there were moments of slower-paced life, which I fully enjoy in a book), it was still thrilling and kept me hooked throughout. I don't know if it's due to how it was written, or if it's just the prepper wannabe in me, but the passages of stocking up and making lists of things did NOT bore me in the slightest; rather, it captivated my attention. Great storytelling, and great characters. I also would like it known that I offer myself up if Bartos needs someone to keep the home fires burning... Just sayin' lol! Also, I feel like there may be zombies, or a Captain Trips type twist coming?? I ACCEPT. The narrator did a great job, as well, really bringing the story to life. On occasion it felt he was a little unfamiliar with the passage he was reading, but overall it was excellent on all counts.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pam Shelton-Anderson

    This book ended up being quite good. The CME is fairly sudden, but unlike other stories of this genre, the impact is a not an immediate everything-just-stops and I rather think this is more realistic. It did give the main character, Scott, and his friends some time to prepare a little better. There is a more predictable battle between the good guys and the gang/bad guys. I like the characters of Scott, Todd, Jack, Bartos, Solo and Devonte. Kaylie is not a very strong female character which is ki This book ended up being quite good. The CME is fairly sudden, but unlike other stories of this genre, the impact is a not an immediate everything-just-stops and I rather think this is more realistic. It did give the main character, Scott, and his friends some time to prepare a little better. There is a more predictable battle between the good guys and the gang/bad guys. I like the characters of Scott, Todd, Jack, Bartos, Solo and Devonte. Kaylie is not a very strong female character which is kind of missing. There were not many errors so some decent editing and proofreading was done and as a reader, I appreciate that. I'm not so sure about the murky secret government Catalyst protocol and the grey shirts (why always grey or black attire?). It does set up well for a book number 2 so I hope there is going to be one.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jim A

    I am by no means an expert in dystopian novels. That stated, I found this one to be pretty good. It kept my attention unlike some of the others I have attempted to read. Society is brought to a standstill by a giant solar flare, frying most electronics. It's the story of a small Mississippi community to survive. Of course there are evil factions within the community. What survival story would be complete without the marauding bad guys. First of a series. Not sure if I will bother with the remain I am by no means an expert in dystopian novels. That stated, I found this one to be pretty good. It kept my attention unlike some of the others I have attempted to read. Society is brought to a standstill by a giant solar flare, frying most electronics. It's the story of a small Mississippi community to survive. Of course there are evil factions within the community. What survival story would be complete without the marauding bad guys. First of a series. Not sure if I will bother with the remainder. While the characters are likeable, I'm not sure that the follow on novels won't become too predictable.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Except for the conspiracy theory on which this story is based, this is one of the more believable stories in this post-apocalyptic genre. Although there is eventually some significant violence, not every encounter results in violence and contrived situations. The characters are well developed and compelling. And Steven Varnum does an excellent job of giving these characters distinctive and appropriate voices. Although there's some setup for the next book in this series, the story thankfully does Except for the conspiracy theory on which this story is based, this is one of the more believable stories in this post-apocalyptic genre. Although there is eventually some significant violence, not every encounter results in violence and contrived situations. The characters are well developed and compelling. And Steven Varnum does an excellent job of giving these characters distinctive and appropriate voices. Although there's some setup for the next book in this series, the story thankfully does not end in a cliffhanger as so many books in this genre do. Note: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susannah

    An absolute stunner. From a new author to me, comes one of the best researched and written novels of an apocalyptic scenario I have had the luck to read. A solar flare creating a huge amount of damage over most of earth. A shadow government coming into play. The characters that Jk Franks has created really grab your interest and your heart. If you like this type of story...do NOT miss this book. I have already ordered the next one. The will be three. Write on my friend....write on!

  20. 4 out of 5

    D. E.

    A JKF. SYFY. Novel (CB. - 1)/ A Solar Flare Directed Directly at Earth JKF. has. penned a SYFY. Novel About a Solar Flare that puts Planet Earth back 150 years. Very few are prepared and the one that are are staying together. They combine their resources and prepare for the worst. Three men have the training and one man has the money. Together they make a formidable group. They have a go to plan, an emergency plan and shutout plan. This is an excellent read for the genre.....DEHS

  21. 5 out of 5

    Peter Kralka

    An intriguing read about a group of survival intent people in a small town for their continuing existence after a world changing catastrophic event. Franks insight into how people and all levels of government would react to a catastrophic event is probably very close to reality. I won the Goodread's draw for the second book of the series, Kingdoms of Sorrow, which allowed me to download Downward Cycle to read first. Now I look forward to reading the second book. An intriguing read about a group of survival intent people in a small town for their continuing existence after a world changing catastrophic event. Franks insight into how people and all levels of government would react to a catastrophic event is probably very close to reality. I won the Goodread's draw for the second book of the series, Kingdoms of Sorrow, which allowed me to download Downward Cycle to read first. Now I look forward to reading the second book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tinh Huynh

    I received the series Catalyst (except America Exodus) for free on Amazon. So I am writing this review for returning my respect and support to J.K Franks. The series is awesome and its story, characters are well-developed through the books. I love how the author explains scientific concepts about IT, history, biology, survival, military tech,...through dialogues; easy to absorb and keep up what's going on. SPOILER ALERT!!!! 1. Downward Circle: about the beginning with the CME event which disabled I received the series Catalyst (except America Exodus) for free on Amazon. So I am writing this review for returning my respect and support to J.K Franks. The series is awesome and its story, characters are well-developed through the books. I love how the author explains scientific concepts about IT, history, biology, survival, military tech,...through dialogues; easy to absorb and keep up what's going on. SPOILER ALERT!!!! 1. Downward Circle: about the beginning with the CME event which disabled the global electric grid. The USA was collapsing. Scott Montgomery and some new friends prepared the survival and built the community. The story is slow-paced and you will easily give up the book. But please don't if you want to hype with the series. 2. Kingdom Of Sorrow: Scott Montgomery and his community faced with a huge storm as well as other survival communities. This is where the hype begins, the story is fast-paced, characters and dialogues are more well-developed. 3. Ghost Country: Scott Montgomery and his community faced with the ruthless president and her military as well as lethal disease making victims turn into something like zombies (or worse). But most important of all, he faced a truth that he had never expected. Best of the series when there are many plot twists in the story, especially at the end of the book. You will not want to put the book down and want to finish the book to know the answer. The series is a great choice for anyone want to try survival or post-apocalypse genre like me. We fight, we live, we love - Scott Montgomery.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Hummel

    Overflowing with cursing and horrible language This story had a good plot and interesting characters but the constant barrage of cursing and way over the top descriptions of death and murder, yes murder, spoiled the book for me. I felt I had been invited to a meal and then someone vomited all over the table and everyone's food. I know many good authers who don't resort to what is likely directed to teenage video gamers who relish cursing and extremely violent descriptions. Overflowing with cursing and horrible language This story had a good plot and interesting characters but the constant barrage of cursing and way over the top descriptions of death and murder, yes murder, spoiled the book for me. I felt I had been invited to a meal and then someone vomited all over the table and everyone's food. I know many good authers who don't resort to what is likely directed to teenage video gamers who relish cursing and extremely violent descriptions.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    As we are somewhat experiencing our own version of The End Of The World As We Know It thanks to Covid 19 virus shutting things down and causing multiple problems, as well as many deaths, this was a purposely chosen read. Had the series on my reader for awhile and thought now would be the perfect time to start it, entertaining to me anyway so far as the first story and taking a break before reading next three books.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Deedra

    This was a good book.The electricity goes out no one knows for sure if will come back on.When planes fall from the sky and cars die while driving,some people start getting ready for the end of the world as we know it.I liked this one.I can't wait to read the next one!Steven Varnum narrates nicely.“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.” This was a good book.The electricity goes out no one knows for sure if will come back on.When planes fall from the sky and cars die while driving,some people start getting ready for the end of the world as we know it.I liked this one.I can't wait to read the next one!Steven Varnum narrates nicely.“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joel B Champagne

    A great EOW story So how does humanity recover from a disaster? The story tell it from the survivors aspect and from the planners perspective. Just when it appears as if the survivors will win out, a second party enters the fray. Look to volume 2 to find out. A great read. Book 2 promises to be even better.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn Laing

    Wow, what a great post apocalyptic story. I really enjoyed J.K. Franks' writing. In an awful situation filled with the worst of humanity's faults, he created Scott's character so real, just and good, trying his best to make life bearable for his niece, friends and community. An exceptional writer of the genre. Wow, what a great post apocalyptic story. I really enjoyed J.K. Franks' writing. In an awful situation filled with the worst of humanity's faults, he created Scott's character so real, just and good, trying his best to make life bearable for his niece, friends and community. An exceptional writer of the genre.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Orange35

    Pretty good book. Seems like a well researched post apocalyptic/dystopian novel. It can be a little slow in parts, a lot of description on small stuff that got a little tedious (for me anyways) but on the whole added to it in the end. Action ramps up towards the end for a satisfying pay off. Enjoyed it and recommend, looking forward to reading the next two in the series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karen L. Curnow

    A Thrill Ride As people do we really know what forces direct our lives? I got the distinction impression, reading this book, that our lives are not our own. Such a great and interesting read, leading to question our very existence.

  30. 4 out of 5

    irvin r russell

    The book was good and worth it. The book leaves you wondering if that could really happen to us , if it did could we survive something that bad. The book lets wonder if it could be true, it was a good book.

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