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Book Review: Devil’s Road by Gary Gibson

If ever there was a book whose energy and tone of its cover matched that of its contents, it’s Devil’s Road

Nobody has taken part in the Devil’s Run annual road race as often as Dutch McGuire and lived to tell the tale.

The racecourse circumnavigates the post-apocalyptic ruins of Teijouan, and with a choice between being eaten by the monstrous Kaiju that prowl the island’s devastated cities or murdered by her fellow racers, the odds against surviving another Run, let alone winning it, are slim.

Dutch doesn’t care about the odds nearly so much as she cares about getting back behind the wheel of her beloved Ford Falcon—except for one problem: she’s spent the last five years incarcerated in a high-security prison for her part in a heist.

So when a crooked billionaire offers to put her back in the race on condition she uses it as cover for a secret retrieval operation, she can’t refuse.

Can Dutch survive assassins, monsters, and psychopathic drivers long enough to complete her mission as well as take part in the race—or is this the year death finally catches up with her in a blazing tangle of wreckage?

Before I even get into my review of the novella, I must state that this book appears to have been written for me. I love cars, Kaiju, tough female leads, and post-apocalyptic settings (obviously!), so I did not hesitate to try this novella on for size. I picked it up from Book Sirens, a website where you can get free ebooks as long as you review them.

The only disappointing thing about this book is that it’s a novella. Had it tacked on an additional fifty (preferably one hundred) pages to give Dutch a proper backstory, beef up the tension with Nat, and make the race far longer, it would have been amazing. That being said, it is definitely worth reading! 

Dutch is a great character – she’s tough, decisive, and brave – but I wanted to know more about her. I also was dying to learn more about the other racers. They were an eclectic group that reminded me of the characters from Twisted Metal (which I played way too much of on PS2 in my younger years).

The story is engrossing with well-described settings and fights, but we are left wanting more (and not in a good way).  When I hit the 80% mark, I said aloud, “wait, it’s going to wrap up in twenty pages?” 

Yet, despite this rather major problem, it’s such a fun novella that teases out the state of the world/the post-apocalyptic island in a way that keeps you guessing. The action scenes are exciting, the monsters are cool, and there’s even a little heat (and not only from the car exhaust).  

Despite feeling like you’ve emerged from a whirlwind when you’re done, this book is a blast to read, and I really enjoyed it.

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T. S. Beier is obsessed with science fiction, the ruins of industry, and Fallout. She is the author of What Branches Grow, a post-apocalyptic novel (which was a Top 5 Finalist in the 2020 Kindle Book Awards) and the Burnt Ship Trilogy (space opera). She is a book reviewer, editor, freelance writer, and co-owner of Rising Action Publishing Co. She currently lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband, two feral children, a one-eyed pug, and a Shepherd-Mastiff.

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