Review of Alter Road by James Mark

Detroit ablaze!

I purchased this novel on an impulse.  It is published by one of my publishers (Defiance Press) and since it was set in Detroit, a city I lived in the suburbs of and know all too well, I thought it might be interesting to read. Besides, I think authors should support their colleagues. 

This is a story about a big corporation shutting down the power to a city and the riots that followed. It’s not that farfetched, especially when you consider Enron’s role in the rolling brownouts in California decades ago. 

The novel has an ensemble cast, something I have become personally fond reading in recent years. It lets authors explore a situation from different character perspectives and James Mark does this masterfully. It is a mix of alternate history and political thriller, with a lot of military action in the later portion of the novel. In other words, there is something here for everyone.

What I particularly enjoyed was how it demonstrated how protests can and do get out of hand. The sections on the Michigan militia group were fascinating to read as well.  The battle for Detroit was not just complex, but fascinating to read. 

Mark has set this up perfectly for a sequel, which I sincerely hope that he is writing. His descriptions of Detroit show that he has first-hand experience with that locale.  For me, it was easy to picture the streets, buildings, and intersections where he had artfully placed his characters. This novel has tales of strife, daring, a dash of terrorism, and a good old fashioned insurrection. 

The twist in the last 3% of the book with the Middle East really caught me off guard.  Well done! A solid five out of five stars.  There’s still some time for some summer reading – so pick this one up.

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