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Source: Juan Padrón design


The dawn finds my son and me in a motel room in Redding, California. With afternoon temperatures predicted to exceed 100° F (38C), it’s a good day to head south through Napa and into Marin County.

Hard Road: Deadly Horizon, the sequel to Dark Cure, launches in August. The novel is edited, proofread and laid out. I hope that I do a less-good job of predicting the future this time around, though the fictional, India-origin “Covid-20” of Dark Cure is way more lethal than the India-origin delta variant we deal with at present.


Like Dark Cure, I wrote Hard Road: Deadly Horizon in the solitude of fortress Singapore. Hard Road was edited and finalized abroad in England, Mexico, the Bahamas, and the U.S. In late April, my wife and I left Singapore, and I’m still abroad three months into a six-month odyssey. Later this year, when I return to Singapore, I’ll start the last book in the Dark Plague trilogy, The Haven. At present, I’m collecting ideas and outlining possible storylines. Family, friends, food, fine wine and fishing often take precedence over authorial pursuits, and my progress to date has been modest.


Hard Road: Deadly Horizon tracks the Manned Mission to Mars (“3M”) convoy from Berkeley, California to the Canada border. Along the way, the extended Maggio family encounters desperate people struggling to survive the deadly pandemic. The 3M also has homicidal mercenaries on its trail, and violence abounds. New relationships blossom and existing romances crumble over the pressure cooker six-day span covered in Hard Road.


The book is less about a dread disease and the resulting dystopia than what ordinary people do when the rules no longer apply. Almost all of us would die to protect our children. Most of us would risk our lives to save a spouse or best friend, but where does one draw the line? Is everyone equally worth saving, particularly when resources are finite? Or do we cinch the net more tightly to include only like-minded people, or closer still to encompass personal friends, or maybe just family? Hard Road throws up these dilemmas by the handful. While I hope none of us ever face the 3M’s choices, reading the book will leave you better prepared if our collective circumstances worsen from where we are today rather than bounce back to where we were pre-Covid.


Deeper themes aside, Hard Road: Deadly Horizon provides solid escapist entertainment with plenty of good guys to root for and an equal number of evil people hellbent on destroying them. If you liked Dark Cure, I think you’ll love Hard Road. Look for it soon on Amazon.


Wishing everyone good health in these challenging times.


Bradley West, Redding, California, July 24, 2021


Fishy Business


I love to fish. Here’s a smattering of snapshots from the last few months of binge travel after eighteen months in Singapore lockdown. (Fans of animals, please note that all the fish were captured using a barbless fly, were held out of the water for only a few seconds, and were safely released. The only exception was the barracuda which my guide invited to dinner that night at his home.)


Baby tarpon from Yucatan, Mexico (Source: Bradley West)


Barracuda from the Bahamas (Source: Bradley West)



Happy in a Wyoming cutthroat trout creek (Source: Bradley West)


A smallmouth bass from the upper Mississippi River (Source: Bradley West)


A Minnesota largemouth bass (Source: Bradley West)