If The Light Escapes
Out Now from SFK Press
A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid. Now northern lights are in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with 18-year-old Keno Simms. All that’s left for him and his broken family is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat.
Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.
"Gritty and powerful, If the Light Escapes takes the reader on an emotionally charged and adrenalin-fueled journey that lingers long after the last page is read."
Mae Clair, Author of the Point Pleasant Series and the Hodes Hill Series
Both novels rely on dialogue to tell the story, and these characters speak with a natural contemporary Southern parlance. One finds comparisons to Steinbeck easy to make. The plain speech, rendered so easily it comes across as effortless. A Grapes Of Wrath for today, if you will, but filled with current cultural allusions, and Southern accents that have been tempered by Mass Media and even the internet, though these extravagances are practically nowhere to be found here. The closest thing is an irregular radio broadcast, or rumors bantered about, or sheer speculative fiction. One might think that a group of people isolated in neighborhood might lack action. But that is not the case here. This is a riveting page turner that will keep your attention so to see what happens next. "
-- Review from Taliesin93Masque at Barnes & Noble
“Brenda Marie Smith stuns again with the breathtaking sequel to her debut. Dark and intense, IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES explores one young man's coming-of-age against the aftermath of a devastating electromagnetic pulse. With her skill for detail and character, Smith captivates us with Keno's kindness and humanity, while also exploring the capacity for violence that lurks within all of us. This book held me until the last page and lingered with me afterwards.”
Aden Polydoros, Author of The City Beautiful
“In this sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US, teenager Keno inherits the mantle of leadership when his beloved Grandma Bea has a stroke. As Keno falls in love and tries to start a normal family life in the post-electromagnetic pulse apocalypse, things turn from bad to worse, culminating in a violent showdown that threatens to forever destroy the peaceful farming community Bea helped to build. IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is a rich coming-of-age story about the legacy of family, infused with hopefulness and humanity.”
Laura Creedle, Author of The Love Letters of Abelard & Lily