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Dennis Bailey
What a Wonderful World
Brandon Foxworth, an ecology professor at the University of Virginia, and his wife are watching their two children chase lightning bugs in the back yard when suddenly all the lights go out. Three days later, Taylor Grant, a reporter with the Richmond Herald, stumbles coming down the stairs of his front porch and lands on his backside in a flower bed full of dead flowers. Following the subsequent disappearance of nearly every species of bird on earth, the two men realize something extraordinary is taking place and they join forces to find out what it is. Together with Biblical scholar Marcy Cambridge, the three embark on a sometimes perilous journey to discover whether these things have their basis in science or originate from the realm of the supernatural.
Bailey (author of Army of God) prods the limits of science, faith, and spirituality with a "plague of anomalies" that sets in motion a biological maelstrom on Earth. When ecologist Brandon Foxworth notices something strange happening around his rural home—the fireflies stop illuminating, the birds disappear, and the animals go silent—he teams up with Taylor Grant, a reporter for the Richmond Herald, to get to the bottom of the mystery. Together, they search for a scientific explanation, but after multiple tests, they still can’t prove any physical causes to the wildlife’s decay. The government blames global warming, but Grant and Foxworth suspect that’s not the whole truth.

Foxworth, a self-proclaimed atheist, and Grant, who "hadn't made up his mind about God yet," connect with Bible scholar Marcy Cambridge, who shares some convincing scripture aligning with the recent events, but neither are sold on the spiritual side to the phenomenon. Still, the three team up to investigate, eventually landing them in the sights of a group that offers bribe money to skew their findings, then later threats of violence, putting their lives and the lives of their loved ones at risk. Bailey delivers a slow burn as this layered science fiction unravels more devastating changes on Earth: the sky and the ocean lose their blue pigmentation, plants die, and a drought threatens mass hysteria. As panic sets in worldwide, the three central characters must each rely on their areas of expertise to find answers.

This heart-pounding, "end of days" thrill ride takes readers on a speculative journey rich with scientific theories and evidence, paired with the unexplainable, unforeseen presence of a higher power. Bailey contrasts the factual position of science with faith’s perplexing beliefs, spinning an intricately complex tale that resonates as it delivers real world suspense. Readers who crave a cataclysmic race against the clock will be riveted by Bailey’s tension building.

Takeaway: Science and faith are at odds in this apocalyptic thrill ride.

Comparable Titles: James Rollins's The Seventh Plague, Demitria Lunetta’s In the After.

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