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  • Steven Hendricks

Crimson Phoenix

Author: John Gilstrap


John Gilstrap introduces a new post apocalyptic thriller entitled “Crimson Phoenix” that is surprisingly good. It’s a new series about the aftermath of nuclear war, specifically in West Virginia and centered around an ex-Congresswoman and her three sons.


The protagonist, Victoria Emerson, abruptly resigns from Congress when she was unable to bring her two teenaged boys into the Congressional-leaders only bomb shelter (no family members allowed). Preset for recovery of the government for after a nuclear strike, this caused tremendous angst for those who never read the ‘what-to-do’ material during code Crimson Phoenix. Emerson’s apparent lack of knowledge of Crimson Phoenix procedures caused her to walk away from the safe-haven bunker with two of her three boys and to start utilizing her "prep-per" skills in the West Virginia mountains.


Vicky Emerson is a politician prone to getting her way and occasionally making impulsive decisions, but who also seems to grow into a true leader role as a survivalist in the aftermath of the nuclear attack. This is not a book so much about the terrible effects of multiple nuclear strikes across America, though it certainly doesn't shy away from it, as much as it is about the need for all different classes of people to find ways to regroup and cope during a nuclear holocaust.


The only enemies that appear in the book are fellow Americans who try to seize the moment for their own personal gain even though every thing as been destroyed. Gilstrap’s storyline and plot are well written and are very believable.. The characters are strongly developed and characteristically spot on. His knowledge, details and explanations of the survivalist community is also remarkable!


Although there are three distinct stories taking place in this one novel, they’re all relevant to each other and complete the overall storyline. Overall, this book was riveting, fast-paced, action-oriented, and scary to think about. As a first in a series, I can’t wait to find out what happens next for Vicky, her sons as well as the two military escorts that were tasked with delivering the former Congresswoman to the Congressional bomb shelter.

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