Luis led escaping American Muslims out of the U.S. during the ten years following a 2019 terrorist attack on Chicago. He retired after nearly being killed by a border guard. But now in 2032, the Nortes give Luis a choice: pay back the fortune they spent saving his life, or take on a special job.
The job: Nora Khaled - FBI agent, wife, mother of two, and Muslim. She claims her husband will be exiled to one of the nation's remote prison camps to rot with over 400,000 other Muslim Americans. Faced with her family's destruction, she's forced to turn to Luis - the kind of man she's spent her career bringing to justice.
But when the FBI publicly accuses Nora of terrorism, Luis learns Nora's real motive for heading south: she has proof that the nation's recent history is based on a lie - a lie that reaches to the government's highest levels.
Torn between self-preservation and the last shreds of his idealism, Luis guides Nora and her family toward refuge in civil war-wracked Mexico. The FBI, a dogged ICE agent, killer drones, bandits, and the fearsome Zeta cartel all plan to stop him. Success might just free Luis from the Nortes...but failure means disappearing into a black-site prison, or a gruesome death for them all.
In a day-after-tomorrow America where government has been downsized and outsourced into irrelevance, and none but the very wealthy few can afford hopes or dreams, Luis and Nora must learn to trust each other to ensure the survival of the truth - and of the people they love.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Seeley James Thriller of the Week! You will find no better dystopian thriller than SOUTH by Lance Charnes for a host of reasons. If you’re a reader, you’ll love the literary thrill ride. If you’re a sci-fi fan, you’ll find the near-future unique and realistic. If you’re a writer, you can learn from this masterpiece. If you love flesh and blood characters, this story packs them in. If you love plot twists, try to figure out the alliances in this one. Let me break that down. Thrills: The gunfight in the safe house is so well done that you should re-read it before trying to write anything like it. Future creative writing classes will study the action sequences for the intricate choreography. And that scene is just one of many chilling, tense scenes that stand out. A mother must retrieve her child from the very police who are hunting for her while DNA scans are run. A drone waits above the ledge for your hero to stick his head out. Our hero tries rescue his wife from a well-guarded warehouse. Exhibit A - Her brain clicked into combat mode, shoving her emotions into a mental closet and spinning up the part that made plans and decisions. Complete the mission. Get out, get safe. Exhibit B - He drew his pistol, held it with both hands between his knees. His heart hammered his breastbone, and sweat drenched his shirt’s back and armpits. It’d been years since he’d done an entry, and he’d been on the other side of the door then, with a vest and helmet on. The people inside those dusty little houses had felt the way he did right now. Dystopian: Futuristic novels universally rely on an end-of-the-world scenario based on a cataclysm. Occasionally it’s an asteroid, but most often it’s a nuclear war. Any student of history will tell you civilizations don’t crumble all at once. They devolve. The Romans expanded too far and collapsed over a couple hundred years. The Mayans wound down over four hundred. The Egyptians took even longer to slide into the abyss. You’ve heard the apathetic dismissal, haters gonna hate? Only if you let them. SOUTH shows where unabated xenophobia can take a society. And a civilization. Exhibit C - He retreated to the patio with a beer, pulled up a bleached-gray plastic lawn chair and watched the fire in the hills. The wind had kicked up at sunset, and flames fringed the hillcrests. Twin torches marked what used to be a pair of houses at the nearest slope’s bottom. They must not have paid their fire insurance. Writing: Exhibit D – Bel stacked the last glass in the dish drainer, wiped her hands, then steered Luis out the sliding door onto the cracked concrete patio. It was July hot in April and the smoky tang from the fire in the hills half-masked the smog’s chemical smell. The evening’s gun battles crackled from the other side of the 55. “Is there something you need to tell me?” Exhibit E – The sunset’s yellows had shifted to reds, and the reds to purple. The road ahead slowly faded into the night, which also closed in on either side of them. The road moan fell in pitch as the Expedition slowed. “Turn’s just ahead,” he announced. Characters: What makes characters come to life is a distinctly individual voice for each one. When you read this book, you’ll look at the author’s picture several times while you analyze what background he had to create such varied ethnic, regional, and religious identities. These people aren’t just familiar friends, you can identify them with people you know. Exhibit F - McGinley would love to talk to someone who knew the woman, really knew her, but that wasn’t too likely and the Feebs would whack his pecker for getting in their chili. Exhibit G - After a few moments, his lips found hers. She leaned into the kiss, giving him back a week’s worth of longing and exasperation and fear, and soon she had his face in both her hands and could feel his touch leave burning trails on her skin beneath her robe. Twists: What makes a thriller thrilling is the inevitable march toward something bad. What makes them interesting are the obstacles our heroes must overcome along the way. This one marches straight for the goal from the outset, and while the obstacles are unimaginable, the real twist lies in why they need to reach their goal. The reason our heroes’ quest is so important becomes clear as we piece together the story. I was not only entertained as a reader of this book–Mr. Charnes’s writing humbled me to the point that I took notes and saved passages. You will love this story.