books by Jack McDaniel

New Novel

New Novel


My new novel is available for Pre-Order! So far the reviews are good. I'm especially happy with the reviews from Kirkus and IndieReader, plus the handful of people who were early readers. Learn more about the book and read reviews from Kirkus, Reviews, The Booklist, and IndieReview here.


About the Book

Helen Small is journalist at the largest news organization in the Republic of Texas, and a survivor. Seven years after a plague—known as Pan21—has culled humanity in half, the Republic is falling into a totalitarian state. Survivors - the few who contracted the virus and survived, though they lost all pigmentation in their skin and hair and eyes - are being vilified by William Chaste, the new Administrator of the Republic. An army of Chaste’s zealots known as the Grey Alliance has taken on the “patriotic” call of protecting the Republic from survivors, who they believe—based upon false information from Chaste—are still spreading the plague.

When a mob of Grey Alliance supporters murder a survivor, Helen finds herself in an increasingly hostile and fearful atmosphere as she attempts to uncover the truth and expose Chaste’s lies. All the while, she struggles with her own guilt at having survived the plague that killed both her husband and son. Amidst all of the bleakness she meets Francisco Stiles, an artist from the barrio in Denver who offers her a chance at a real life - and love. Average citizens and co-workers become more hostile towards her (and all survivors) and she loses her job because she makes people uncomfortable and fearful. Having lost everything, she decides to go to the barrio to be with Stiles.

Chaste asks congress to immediately pass the Survivor Advocacy Act, law designed to “protect” survivors by rounding them up in special facilities. He also introduces the HealthPal, a new health monitoring implant that is going to become required, and the new quad program to monitor the cities and watch for terrorist acts. All the while he and Stan temple, his right-hand man, continue to escalate the public fear of survivors by claiming there have been deaths from the virus in Dallas.

Tensions escalate in the Republic and Helen is attacked and then arrested while driving to Denver. She is put in jail without any rights or even a phone call. Two articles by her appear on the Republic Voice website - written and uploaded before she was fired - questioning Chaste and proving he is lying. She and the virologist who helps her with the science are announced as terrorists for spreading false and misleading information.

Helen realizes no one knows she is in jail. No one knows where she is. At her lowest moment, she understands that she has to rely on herself to escape. She uses the fear the officers have of her being a survivor against them, convincing them that every minute they spend near her in the confined space they get closer and closer to contracting the virus and spreading it to their families. The ploy works and, with some help, she is released, but not before she has the new HealthPal implanted in her wrist.

With her comm dead and charging, she drives to Denver. Chaste intensifies the lock-down of the Republic. The plan to round up survivors is announced and Helen is identified as the author of the articles and misinformation spread about Pan21. The hunt for her as a terrorist is officially on.

Helen, working past her guilt, realizes that to survive—to live—she has to embrace who she is now. She has to take control. On the side of the highway during the late night drive to Denver she stops and deletes all of the photos from her comm that pictured her before the plague, before the changes to her appearance and the deaths of her son and husband.

She gets to Stiles and the barrio and discovers a different world. The barrio has always been painted by the media as the home of drug dealers, addicts and degenerates, the fringes of Republic society, but that isn’t what she finds. She finds a group of independent thinking people who are living life on their own terms.

Helen is hunted down through her HealthPal and its built-in GPS device. As the Republic becomes a dark place with the round-up of all survivors, a team is sent to arrest her—or kill her.



Copyright © Jack McDaniel