The Unraveling: A Book Review, by S.A.

Spoilers Alert: I don’t believe this review gives the story away, but if you don’t like any details in advance, then you might not want to read this.

The Unraveling, Book 1 of the Bound to Survive Series
by Charley Hogwood
324 pages
Kindle $5.99

First, who names their baby Tempest? Even in this day and age of last names being used as first names (for example, Smith, Parker, Jackson, Davis for little girls or little boys) and the revival of old-timey girl names (Donna, Ruth, Hazel, Myrtle), “Tempest” seems over the top, unless maybe you are a Shakespeare scholar.

A small group of the woke in Florida forms and comes together just at the outset of a pandemic that arises out of the failed state of Venezuela. Their success just shows us that maybe God does love fools, and this time, just maybe the newly aware will fare as well or better as those who have been accumulating skills and tools for years. Of course, everyone needs lots of guns and proven ability and experience with shooting, and this group has it.

Prepper acronyms and pieces of equipment are explained early on for those readers who are brand new to prepping: Mylar, TEOTWAWKI, SHTF, etc. I believe that is the target audience for this book, but old hands at prepping can enjoy it, too. The characters are likable.

As a fan of The Walking Dead, I was quit amused at the several references. It seems that show has provided not only entertainment to the world, but also provided us with video training of survival techniques and exposure to the personalities found within groups.

I enjoyed the real-worldness of the author’s writing. A looter gets shot then is “…shaking like a sprayed roach for a long minute, then twitched…”

This pandemic, not so much the storyline, resembles some contagion movies you may have seen where the disease is unfamiliar, quick, deadly, and super contagious.

I like this writer, it’s all in the details. He’s accurate when writing about Texas (Laughlin AFB, Del Rio, US 90 and 277) and toddlers (baby signing, giving high fives, sleeping with parents).

But the problem looms large when events cause you to change your plan. Where do you bug out to when you are forced out of your bug out location?

After reading this book, I do believe this: If a deadly flu pandemic hits, the world will collapse immediately…not in weeks, not in days, but in minutes.

I appreciate the author writing an apocalyptic novel without a “getting home” story line. The characters are believable, but in my world, friends talk without biting and cutting repartee. They just converse like normal people, but maybe editors think it makes for a better story. After a while, I become uncomfortable with it. But, I’m a southerner, and was raised with gentle manners, not constant put downs and jabs.

Some take-aways:

  • You can’t have too many flashlights, guns, or too much shelf-stable food, ready to pull out and flee with.
  • Always be organized in your preps at home in order to be prepared for the unexpected.

If you looking for a conclusion and resolution, it’s not in this book. I get it. Writers hope for further book sales in a second book, and so have their characters continue their travails. It seems to me that the majority of doom books follow this format. As the reader, I would be more satisfied with a stand alone book and an end to the story.

From the most prepared person in the group:
“Dude, I was always prepared for something, but this is worse than I thought it would be. The bad news is, I don’t hear any good news…”

Some preppers may want to adopt this useful, survivor’s mantra shared by a couple in the story:
“I accept our new reality. Everything that happened before has changed and we need to embrace our new situation and do whatever it takes to survive…”

And finally,
“Be quick, be sure, and be safe.”

Good rules to live by.


  1. The rude banter, nitpicking and offhand comments seems to me a northern thing here in the States.
    I havrn’t experienced it anywhere else in real life, north central and east (NY)

    But I have seen it in a couple other books, one from the UK.

  2. I have a friend with brain cancer that should have killed him.

    He has taken an attitude very much like the one you quote, S.A.

    “I accept our new reality. Everything that happened before has changed and we need to embrace our new situation and do whatever it takes to survive…”

    My friend writes on Caring Bridge quite eloquently in that vein. May each of us exercise that muscle of embracing each new situation, large and especially small.

    Carry on

  3. Thank you for the review. I appreciate the critique and love when words ring to my readers. The funny thing about the banter is that the two people those characters are based on are real and that is exactly the way they talk albeit in fun. It’s similar to my military relationships but at the end of the day they have each others backs and that’s what matters.

    Thank you again and I humbly invite everyone to give The Unraveling a shot. After some non-fiction (The Survival Group Handbook) I wanted to try some storytelling. It is much more fun to write. Book 2 – The Road Trials is in editing now and the series will end with a third book to round out the story.
    Us small writers need your support and very much value each and every reader. My promise to you is that I will work to make the story worth your valuable time. Please spread the word so I can keep the story alive.

    Your humble author,

    Charley Hogwood

    1. Thanks for checking in here Charley. It means a lot to hear writers speaking about their work to an audience, caring about the communication not just the merchandising. I’ll give your book a read.

      1. Thanks a million Wheatley, I’m in this with everyone else and always happy to contribute where I can. Many of the characters and strange events are based on my real life experiences in the prepping/survival industry.

        Yes, even the guillotine/organ donor conspiracy guy in the survival expo scene.

  4. I looked online in my local library for Mr. Hogwood’s book. Turns out his book is not in our system, so I made a purchase request. That way, many people besides me can enjoy his work.

    BTW, Mr. Hogwood has other survival-related literature for you to check out.

    Carry on

  5. Charley thanks for posting. I will read your book because I would ask the same of you as a small unpublished writer. I get the whole banter between friends. I know it’s common among my buddies and I – all former military or law enforcement and yes from the liberal swamp – the northeast. Continued success is my hope for you.

  6. TWD is good for survival instruction mainly as in what not to do. What you would do in the Real World to stay alive might not create the story arc they’re trying for.

Comments are closed.