Book Nerd Vlog
I live in upstate New York with my wife and a small passel of animals. I used to write plays (I actually have an MFA in it, which is number 8 on US News and World Report's list of the top twenty most useless masters degrees) and now I write books for teens. I've written three, The Eleventh Plague, Magisterium and The Darkest Path.
A few random facts about me:
- I’m incredibly superstitious.
- I believe in baking as the ultimate stress reliever. I mean, sure, I write pretty good books but have you tasted my Triple Chocolate Espresso Cookies?
- I’m deeply obsessed with the work of Joss Whedon, Stephen King, Bryan K. Vaughn, Prince and Tom Waits.
- I started writing because of two women—Susan Cooper, author of the Dark Is Rising Series and Denise Stewart, my 7th grade English teacher.
A civil war rages between the Glorious Path–a militant religion based on the teachings of a former US soldier–and what’s left of the US government. Fifteen-year-old Callum Roe and his younger brother, James, were captured and forced to convert six years ago. Cal has been working in the Path’s dog kennels, and is very close to becoming one of the Path’s deadliest secret agents. Then Cal befriends a stray dog named Bear and kills a commander who wants to train him to be a vicious attack dog. This sends Cal and Bear on the run, and sets in motion a series of incredible events that will test Cal’s loyalties and end in a fierce battle that the fate of the entire country rests on.
Author Jeff Hirsch sets up an explosive presentation about the effects of civil wars. His writing style dissects the paranoia that only a civil war could bring forth. It will tear families apart and people that were once your friends, quickly become your enemy. Nothing is black and white and every action is taken with great care as it becomes very difficult to decipher between friend from foe. The characters were developed perfectly and they didn't feel out of place. Their reactions and emotions felt right for the situation that they are in which is a rare scene in most dystopian novels. Jeff does an excellent job explaining how the civil war molded Cal and James to the people that they are after six years of captive.
Jeff always manages to lace his stories with truthfulness and it was evident with some of the resolutions towards the end of the book. The Darkest Path is an incredible story about the struggles between families while trying to survive in a hostile environment where conflicting forces are sorting out their differences. Although it seemed it was destruction in every scene, it was refreshing to read the passages about Bear. The bond between boy and dog reminds us that no matter how cruel the world has become, there's always room for enjoyment in life. The fact that each Path member is given a Choice, Jeff really goes the distance of what it really means to weigh out your options. Cal's single decision involving Bear sets up a fast-paced and heart-wrenching adventure. The ending does present resolutions but raises more questions than answer. This can be a stand-alone book but has all the right elements to continue its story.
You can purchase The Darkest Path at the following Retailers: