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Review: ONE SECOND AFTER by William R. Forstchen

One Second After by William R. Forstchen is a gripping co-apocalyptic novel that explores the catastrophic consequences of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States. This book has stuck with me for fourteen years and I just placed it back in my to-be-read list.

Review: One Second After by William R. Forstchen

When an EMP blast renders all electronic devices useless, the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina, is thrust into an unforgiving and desperate struggle for survival. As the town's infrastructure collapses and resources dwindle, one man, John Matherson, must lead his community and protect his family amidst the chaos. This thought-provoking novel explores the resilience of the human spirit and the harsh realities of a world without the conveniences of modern technology.


It delves into the moral dilemmas individuals face when their survival instincts clash with their values. The novel vividly depicts the bonds of community and the sacrifices made in the name of protecting loved ones. The characters are complex and flawed. It’s a perfect marriage of character and plot.

Forstchen's meticulous research and attention to detail lend authenticity to the story, making the reader acutely aware of the real-world implications of an EMP attack. The narrative doesn't shy away from the stark consequences, both physical and emotional, that arise in the wake of such a catastrophe. This novel is a stark reminder of the fragility of our modern way of life and the importance of preparedness and community bonds.

As you immerse yourself in ONE SECOND AFTER, be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotions and realizations.

The narrator, Joe Barrett, provides a stunning telling of the story. His rich voice for all the characters enhanced the experience for me. He fits the main character so well that for me, they’re inseparable.


As the town faces food shortages, disease outbreaks, and marauding gangs, the story delves into the raw human emotions and ethical dilemmas that arise in such dire circumstances. The sacrifice of John Matherson's daughter, Jennifer, is a heartbreaking moment that underscores the harshness of their new reality. The novel's ending leaves readers haunted by the unresolved crisis and the looming threat of foreign invaders. It’s a perfect segway into book two, which continued the story wonderfully.


It stayed with me for years due to its stark portrayal of societal collapse and the resilience of the human spirit. Whereas some audiobooks leak out the ears as fast as they go in, images of it will randomly pop into my head when I consider whether something is truly a crisis or an annoyance. It really solidified my love of the genre and the fascinating world of preppers. I tried to keep it from influencing my apocalyptic novel, METAL, but there must have been components that leaked in.


I would highly recommend ONE SECOND AFTER to readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction or those who simply love a good action/character-driven/thinker of a book. It's a compelling read for those interested in exploring a sobering cautionary tale of our dependence on technology.


The characters' struggles, losses, and moments of heroism will resonate deeply. It’s a novel that lingers in your thoughts long after you've turned the last page. Whether you're a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction or looking for a gripping and thought-provoking read, "One Second After" is a must-read that will stay with you for years to come.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Story

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Narration

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Overall


Q. Is ONE SECOND AFTER a fast-paced thriller or a character-driven drama?

A. Both. While it features intense survival scenarios, it keeps things personal, drawing the characters into struggles with what needs to be done.

Q. Are there sequels?

A. Yes, two. ONE YEAR LATER and THE FINAL DAY explore the consequences of the EMP attack.

Q. Is the book suitable for younger readers, or does it contain graphic content?

A. It does depict intense and sometimes distressing situations like deadly firefights, making it more suitable for mature readers.

Q. Does the novel offer any practical survival tips or insights into EMP preparedness?

A. Yes. It’s informative without being preachy or teachy.

Q. Can you recommend other books similar to "One Second After"?

A. Fans might also like "Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank and "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy, both of which explore post-apocalyptic themes and survival.


As always, I appreciate your support of self-publishing and indie authors. In the name of putting myself out there, here are a few of my works.

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