"City of Orange" | Reviewed by Pat Sainz
A man wakes up in a cement culvert near an abandoned highway. He has a head injury, and as he comes to his senses, he wonders who tried to kill him. He can’t remember his name, his history, or his location. Only the name of his best friend comes easily to him. Bryon taught him some camping skills, and the man uses his limited recollections to navigate his new world.
The man discovers that he is in a desert with mostly half-built houses nearby. He sees no one. The only wildlife he sees are crows; one dead in the road that seems to mysteriously disappear hours later. In his pocket is a small metal piece that he can’t identify. He also has no identification on him, even if he could remember the word “wallet.”
The man proves that the will to survive is strong. He stays within a few miles of where he woke up, believing that something horrible must have happened to the human race. A plague? A nuclear war?
He discovers abandoned caches of canned food, some matches, and much to his relief, a source of seemingly endless water from a drain. He decides to stay in the culvert with only carefully planned ventures into the nearby area.
Snatches of memory return to him, causing him grief. He automatically turns from looking into a mirror or at the remains of children’s toys in an abandoned house. Such discoveries bring him an enormous amount of pain although he doesn’t know why.
The man explores some of the abandoned houses, and a disturbing encounter motivates him to stay close to his hidden spot in the culvert. His recent head injury convinces him that crazed surviving humans, possibly hiding in one of hundreds of half-built homes, would try to kill him again.
“City of Orange” is a suspense story with an element of horror and a plot twist that will resonate with fans who remember this television series “The Twilight Zone.” The author has written a unique, readable, mesmerizing story of a human navigating a path through tragedy, self-awareness, and resilience.
About the Author: Yoon is a bestselling author who has written for adult and young adult readers. He was recently a featured author at the St. Louis County Library.