cover image Vacation


Matthew Costello. St. Martin's/Dunne, $24.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-68007-7

Patrolman Jack Murphy, forced to leave a besieged New York City where he battles feral cannibals, gathers his family and heads for the hills in this tense apocalyptic thriller expanded from a short story by video game writer and novelist Costello (Doom 3: Maelstrom). Following worldwide drought and crop failures, society is reduced to enclaves like the fortified Paterville Family Camp, where city folks can frolic, watch fireworks, and eat real food. However, the oily owner and his shifty staff make it clear that you can check out any time you like but you can never leave. Costello sets up a world simultaneously threatened with constant surveillance and complete societal breakdowns, foreshadowing the camp scenes nicely with a suspenseful and frightening "rest" stop on an electric fence%E2%80%93enclosed highway. However, the quick discovery of Paterville's darker side leads to an equally quick, if heroic, resolution that curtails the suspense and horror. (Oct.)