Review: The Last Shot by Michael Adams

24 Mar, 2014 by

Review: The Last Shot by Michael Adams

I almost threw a book on public transport, and that book was The Last Shot by Michael Adams.

The Last Shot is the sequel to The Last Girl, an Australian apocalypse tale in which the end of the world comes with The Snap: a moment after which everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts. (Click here for our interview with Michael about the series opener.) Well, almost everyone. Danby can hear but not be heard—not that this is of much comfort to her when most of the rest of Sydney, including her little brother Evan, goes catatonic. The Last Girl has Danby struggling to cope with the immediate aftermath of The Snap: to stay alive, to look after Evan, and to help others. Then she meets Jack, another survivor, who can wake people with a touch and, Danby suspects, controls everyone he revives.

The Last Shot picks up where The Last Girl left off: with Danby trying to work out just how far Jack will go to get what he wants. There is a lot of angst, as one would expect.

A week after The Snap, Danby’s efforts to revive its victims are dwindling. Her closest family member is in the telepathic clutches of a psychopath with a huge messiah complex. The question for Danby more than ever is who she trusts.

Is Jack, who after the violence of The Last Girl appears to be devoting himself to the rescue efforts, really the murderer Danby thinks he is?

Or is her paranoia getting the better of her?

The action really picks up about mid-way through, when Danby finds herself, Evan, and a small group of others hunted across outer western Sydney. The books thus far have not shied away from violence, but The Last Shot’s latter half is particularly brutal, and this together with the terrible choices Danby faces makes for compulsive reading.

I was reminded of John Marsden’s Tomorrow series—except that I didn’t like those books and never finished them, whereas I read The Last Shot in a couple of sittings. Danby continues to be a compelling narrator: she has attitude to spare, but is rounded out by the right amount of vulnerability and desperation—more survivor than heroine.

This is a post-apocalypse with all the ugly bits, but amidst the carnage, decomposition (the body count in this book is stratospheric), and human weakness, there are moments of humour and comradeship that stop Danby’s ordeal from seeming hopeless.

And in case you were wondering, I almost threw The Last Shot because it has a bloody cliff- hanger finish so horrific I don’t want to wait a year for the final book. The Last Shot is out through Allen & Unwin.

By Amy Stevenson.

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