Book Review: The Last Mile by Tim Waggoner

22877673Title: The Last Mile

Author: Tim Waggoner

Genre: Dark Fiction, Horror

Age Group: Adult (18+)

Rating: 3 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All Dan wanted was to be a good husband and father, to provide for his wife and daughter, to keep them fed, warm, and safe. But then the malevolent godlike beings called the Masters arrived, and their darkness spread across the world, reshaping it into a twisted realm of savagery and madness. In exchange for his family’s protection, Dan now serves one of these alien gods, obtaining human sacrifices to feed his Master’s eternal hunger.
Like so many people since the world changed, Alice has had to do unspeakable things to survive. Unfortunately for her, she’s Dan’s choice for his next sacrifice. Now Dan drives along the shattered remnants of an old-world highway, headed for his Master’s lair, Alice bound hand and foot in the backseat of his car. Dan may not like what he’s become, but he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his loved ones. Alice doesn’t intend to relinquish her life so easily, though, and she plans to escape, no matter the cost.
But in the World After, everything—animals, plants, even the land itself—has become a predator, and the journey to the Master’s lair is an almost guaranteed suicide run. But Dan won’t give up, and he won’t stop fighting. Not until he makes it through the Last Mile.

In The Last Mile, we get a macabre, disturbing story set in a post-apocalyptic earth, ruled by the Masters, some sort of aliens that have descended from the sky and now wage a war of terror on the remaining humans. Dan is such a human – he works for one of the Masters, obtaining human sacrifices to feed his Master’s hunger, and thus protecting his wife and child. If he doesn’t obey the Master’s rules, his family suffers. He has little choice in the matter, but free will seems to have been nearly obliterated after the alien attack, so he’s not the only one in such position.

The story starts with Dan driving, bringing the newest sacrifice to his master. Her name is Alice, before the Arrival she used to work as a waitress, and she isn’t particularly keen on dying, but escaping the thrall proves near impossible. As the two struggle on their laster mile to meet Dan’s master, we learn more about them, and about their past.

The high-quality writing with top-notch descriptions manages to deliver the settings well. The post-apocalyptic world has some original elements, like the way the Masters demand sacrifices, for example. The characterization is decent as well. The book offers a solid mix of gore and suspense.

However, it didn’t click with me. I found myself skipping some paragraphs, struggling to read on, because I could not sympathize with either of the characters. The setting is so amazing I wanted to spend more time in there, but for a novel, it felt like a lot of build up for a climax that never really came. The ending was predictable, and left many things unanswered.

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