Lights Out In Lincolnwood
Standalone or series
First time reading this author?
Why I picked this
The cover image is very striking.
Review copy or purchase
I was given access to read this book for free through online book club The Pigeonhole. This is honest and voluntary review.
What it’s about
The Altmans are a normal reasonably well off American family. But, when the power goes off they’re forced to face up to a new reality they are unequipped to cope with.
When the power goes out the Altmans are sorely unfit for surviving on their wits. Dan’s TV writing career hasn’t prepared him for defending his family. Jen’s day drinking is harder to hide when everyone is home. Daughter Chloe’s lifeplan of tennis championships, school tests and early admission to her first choice university doesn’t allow for a world where her admissions essay is trapped in Google docs on a bricked laptop and back up in a cloud which might no longer exist. And, Max just wants a dog and to power his vape pen.
Lights Out In Lincolnwood is an engaging story about society breaking down as seen through the eyes of a suburban family. The action all takes place in a few days after all electricity dies suddenly, including all battery powered devices. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is mentioned a few times as a possible cause, as are aliens, terrorists and the Democrats as rumours and conspiracy theories run wild. But, this isn’t a story about the why, it’s about what happens next.
We switch the perspectives between each of the Altmans throughout the story. This prevents any of them becoming too annoying, as their decisions makes sense in the context of what they’re each going through. As Dan was on his way to work in Manhattan when whatever it was happened the reader does get a sense of the scope of the disaster early on, but the real joy of this story is the small scale focus. It really boils down to the Altmans and their nearest neighbours. The result is an excellent study of suburban life and how quickly structure falls away.