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AES O'Neill
Even Climate Change Can't Stop Love And Murder
AES O'Neill, author
Crossing the United States to relocate to their new witness protection home in Arizona, Ginger and Alby’s search for love is marred by violent interludes with insurrectionists, white supremacists, and jihadists. Yet the worse threat of all is the fury of climate chaos-- storms beyond measure, a bitter fact of life in 2026. And as our characters soon discover, these storms’ death and destruction becomes very personal. Even Climate Change Can't Stop Love and Murder: Paying the Price is the second novel of this romance thriller series and offers a uniquely American vision of love and murder, trauma, and healing. Traveling with Alby, Ginger shares her life with him, but not the dark secrets of her childhood which explain so much of her strong, determined character. Their dialogue is based on the snappy patter of the 1930s. All the threads of their old life and new, culminate at Tuzigoot Pueblo national monument, where Ginger and Alby face certain death, —and someone does pay the price.
This cross-country romantic thriller follows up the memorably titled Even A Pandemic Can't Stop Love And Murder with another of-its-moment story focused on the ramifications of the quickly formed romance between Alby and Ginger (introduced in the first book). Set in a near-future U.S. beset by horrifying superstorms, jihadists, and white supremacist secessionist movements, this entry finds Alby, a former soldier targeted by jihadists, in witness protection with Ginger, a dancer with a mysterious past. After surviving a fight with the deadly assassin, Jagger, the pair heads west to Sedona, Arizona. Unbeknownst to them, Jagger is still alive, though he knows his days are numbered thanks to toxins he inhaled.

Readers who enjoy mismatched romances, on-the-road visions of troubled futures, and multilayered revenge thrillers will find something that resonates here, especially the tense, thrilling ending. Ginger and Alby slowly make the long haul from New Jersey, surviving sabotage to their truck, a massive superstorm and an ambush by white supremacists. The heroes eventually make a home in Sedona and deal with locals both friendly and hostile, but Jagger's obsessive quest, Alby's past, and sinister forces all collide in an explosive ending that comes complete with a hook for the third volume.

Weird, sometimes extreme tonal shifts are part of the narrative's charm, but the first eighty pages lack momentum, as even a character as sharply defined as Jagger is in a holding pattern at story’s start. Things pick up once Ginger and Alby reach their destination, as O’Neill introduces a host of eccentric and knowing characters. Jagger's revenge tour is a gripping look inside of the mind of a dying, psychotic killer who can read microexpressions, and O'Neill pulls the strings together neatly by the end. This second entry continues the story from the first but will be relatively easy to understand for new readers.

Takeaway: A romantic road trip across a deadly near-future America, with a killer in pursuit.

Great for fans of: Billy Dering’s Utopia Project: Everyone Must Die, Sara Faring’s The Tenth Girl.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A