One Shot by Tom Conyers
Thrilling, chilling, profound, and alarming – these are but a few of the words one could use to describe One Shot by Tom Conyers. Though, if this reviewer had to choose just one word, it’d be… “Wow!” (exclamation point included). The story starts out in a somewhat familiar fashion – humankind has been carried to the brink of extinction due to the rapid spread of what’s more or less a zombie virus – but, from there, it takes off in unexpected, deliciously deep directions that guide readers through the darkest expanses of the human condition. As expected, the storyline itself, is rather sensational and is full of fights, flights, strange encounters, and unthinkable behaviors. But the thread of psychological fiction that runs through the plot is truly exceptional, and it gives One Shot an undeniably moving momentum. As main character Rex confronts challenge after challenge in his post-apocalyptic surroundings, he teeters between an existentialist dilemma and an altruistic mission, determined to die but stay alive long enough to save others – first his dog, and then a young child – from suffering before their inevitable deaths. All the while, he is haunted by memories and dreams of his former life, each of which foreshadow the totality of grim circumstances that seem only to damn him and further blur the lines between reality and delusion, between life and death, and between this universe and countless others.
One Shot is a masterpiece of literary fiction that’s sure to appeal to readers on many different levels. It explores urgency, futility, purpose, and reflection in an uncanny way and tells a tale that’ll really make your jaw drop. There’s plenty of action and plenty of inner thought, and both are achieved in perfect balance, through eloquent writing that’s otherwise been lamentably lost in the modern market. At the risk of sounding cliché, One Shot deserves way more than five stars.
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