Ten years after the world’s oil went sour and a pandemic killed most of the population, Sam Edison is the chief of police of The Little Five, a walled-in community near Atlanta, Georgia. Those who survived share the world with what are known as hollow-heads: creatures who are no longer fully human.
A man and a pregnant teenager arrive at the gate and are welcomed into the town. They begin to settle in when suddenly both are murdered by an unknown assailant. In the course of investigation, Chief Edison discovers that the girl was fleeing a life of sexual slavery, and that some members of the Atlanta community were complicit in the human trafficking network that had ensnared her.
In retaliation for Edison’s discoveries, agents of the network abduct the stepdaughter of the town’s mayor. Chief Edison and three companions track the kidnappers to Athens, Georgia, where they discover that the entire city is engaged in human trafficking. By the time Edison has recovered the kidnapped girl, the other three rescuers have been killed, leaving Edison alone to bring the mayor’s stepdaughter home while evading both human and non-human monsters. Against such great odds, will Sam ever make it to Little Five alive?
This violent, ambitious, and often preachy postapocalyptic debut features Police Chief Sam Edison of Little Five, a walled community near Atlanta that's struggling to survive 10 years after the world's petroleum has gone sour. Once-human "hollow-heads," virtually unkillable cannibals, hunt anything living for food. Sam Edison, haunted by the earlier deaths of his wife and daughter, attempts to solve the murders of two strangers, a man and a traumatized pregnant teen, who recently arrived at Little Five. He's compulsively drawn to save the innocent and also undertakes a protracted search for the mayor's abducted stepdaughter; this investigation exposes a wide-ranging human trafficking ring involving various human enclaves. Rife with stomach-wrenching sorties against invading hollow-heads, this novel bitterly explores how a remnant of humanity can abandon its conscience for dark rewards. In ambivalent, constantly self-recriminating, and guilt-ridden Sam, it also traces a stubborn human refusal to abandon one's post, and the insistence on atoning for losses that can never be regained. Prosaic supporting characters do little to expand this grim tale.