by Peter Heller
Hands down one of the best novels of 2012. Nine years after a flu pandemic has practically wiped out humanity, a few survivors deal with the collapse of civilization. Written in a sort of stream-of-consciousness style, the book gets inside the head of Hig, a pilot who lives in a hanger at the airport in Erie, Colorado. Although he is lonely, Hig has created a sort of life for himself, forging a partnership with his only neighbor, a hard-core survivalist who shoots intruders on sight. His only joy comes from the daily flights he makes in his Cessna, patrolling the area around the airport to keep watch for roving bands of marauders. When he receives a transmission from an airport on the western slope, Hig faces a choice: maintain his routine or risk everything to make contact with other survivors. This book manages to be not only action-packed and suspenseful, but also contemplative and deeply moving. Local author Peter Heller has crafted beautiful passages that describe the joys of aviation and the lovely but hauntingly empty landscape of a post-apocalyptic Colorado.