This is an interesting take on the 'end of the world as we know it' type of novel, not least of all because the main character, and sole survivor of the 'red rain', is a young woman.
Emily Baxter is working as a journalist in New York when a strange, blood-like rain begins to sweep across the globe. It becomes apparent that the rain is more than it seems as, in its wake, whole nations of people succumb to a terrible virus that attacks suddenly, violently and fatally. When the virus reaches New York, Emily waits for her own inevitable demise but when it doesn't come she realises that she is probably the only survivor in the whole city, if not the world. Extinction Point tracks Emily's progress as she tries to adjust to living in a world devoid of life and then her struggle for survival and escape as a new world begins to emerge from the destruction of the old.
The character of Emily is easy to like with a dry humour and unswerving practicality. She strikes a good balance between femininity and toughness, giving us a sense of an ordinary woman who finds herself having to toughen up to survive. Although there are no other characters for most of the story. Paul Jones gives us enough little glimpses into the characters of the minor players in the build up to the red rain to make us truly sorry for their fate.
The action is well written and the moments of tension really do have you on the edge of your seat. My one little grumble is that there is a lot of unnecessary narrative. Unless you know Manhattan, the detailed routes that Emily takes on her journeys through the city are fairly meaningless. Paul Jones shows himself throughout to be a competent writer with a knack for building suspense.
On the whole, a darned good read, although slightly annoying to only find out at the end that it is just the first in a series of books so we don't really get a proper resolution. However, the second in the series is a work in progress and you can check for updates on Paul's website where there is even a mailing list so that you can find out as soon as it's released.
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