When lethal Covid-20 strikes, a family man leads his extended family on a trek to what they hope will be new lives in northern Canada, but they are pursued by killers bent on revenge and the miracle cure in the blood of his daughter and her baby.

The Dark Plague Series revolves around the Maggio family: father and leader Sal, brilliant scientist niece Carla, miracle cure Stephanie and baby Tyson. Along with their partners—notably former warriors Travis and Jaime—they form the nucleus of The Manned Mission to Mars (“3M”), a tongue-in-cheek reference to their convoy of twenty souls thrown together at the last instant. The 3M faces potent foes over and beyond the challenges of surviving in a pandemic-ravaged society with no laws and a level of savagery that increases by the day.

Dark Plague 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? The three books in the series throw up these dilemmas by the handful. While I hope none of us ever face the 3M’s choices, reading Dark Plague 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, Dark Plague provides solid escapist entertainment with plenty of good guys to root for and an equal number of evil people hellbent on destroying them.

Fans of Ozark, The Fugitive and Taken will like these books while aficionados of contemporary kidnapping/missing person thrillers by authors such as Lucinda Berry, Tess Gerritsen, Willow Rose or Lisa Jewell, or dystopian authors such as R. E. McDermott, William Forstchen or Robert Boren will find the series of interest as well.