BY: JANET MCCLINTOCK
Following a worldwide economic collapse, a tyrannical administration has taken control of the United States government and nullified the Constitution. Joan Bowman, a highly skilled veteran and patriot, joins an underground resistance group to restore America’s beloved freedoms. Too late, she realizes that the group she so idealistically joined is just as corrupt as the administration in Washington. However, since she knows too much to ever leave the group alive, she turns State’s evidence. But when the task force demands she go back to the group to obtain one last piece of crucial information, Joan knows she faces certain death. Dispirited, exhausted, and paranoid, she’s hardly on top of her game—and she needs to be or, this time, she’ll pay with her life.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Worst of All Evils by Janet McClintock, Joan Bowman joins an organization dedicated to restoring the US constitution after it’s suspended by a corrupt administration in Washington DC after an economic collapse. The organization, the Constitution Defense Legion, AKA the Legion, starts out with values and goals that Joan can understand. But when they don’t get the results they are hoping for, they decide that killing innocent civilians is the way to go. This is a decision that Joan cannot get behind, but once in the Legion, the only way out is death, and Joan soon discovers that is not the worst thing that can happen to you.
I thought this book was particularly timely. Although it focuses on Joan and her life in the Legion with all its pitfalls and doesn’t really dwell on life in general for all citizens, it nevertheless gives you a good glimpse into what life could be like without our constitution to defend us from corrupt politicians. The story is intense, hard-hitting, and has an uncomfortable ring of truth.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Worst of All Evils by Janet McClintock is a fast-paced, intense, and horrifying look at the US should our constitution fail completely. The story revolves around a young woman, Joan Bowman, who served in the army in Iraq and, after an apocalypse caused by an economic collapse, is still determine to stand by her oath to defend the constitution from all threats, foreign and domestic. Right now, the biggest threat to the constitution is the corrupt administration in power in Washington DC. So Joan joins the Constitution Defense Legion to fight with like-minded vets to restore the constitution.
I found the book to a thought-provoking and terrifying look at what life could be like without the protection afforded by our constitution. The plot is strong, the characters well-developed, and the story intense enough to keep you turning pages from beginning to end.
The woods went silent.
It felt like her heart was pounding against the moss under her belly as Joan squeezed and released the grip on her M-16 semi-automatic rifle. She scanned the surrounding undergrowth.
Jason tapped her shoulder and pointed to her right. “Seventy-five yards at our two,” he whispered. “The oak with two notches. The notch on the left.”
“How did they get so close without us seeing them?” she said as she zeroed in on the double-notched tree.
“They’re shape-shifters, man.”
Joan pressed the rifle butt against her shoulder and snuggled her cheek against the stock so she could see down the barrel. In a measured movement, she raised the rifle until the notch of the tree was centered in her sights. “I’ll shift their shapes for ’em,” she said.
Jason reached with his tattooed hand and pressed down on the barrel of her M-16. “Let’s go down the other side of this hill and slip away. No sense getting shot when the exercise is almost over.”
“We can take them.”
“Ever get hit with a round of simu-nition? It hurts like a mother–”
A twig snapped to their right.
Jason snatched the back of Joan’s shirt and jerked her upright. “Let’s go. Now.”
Joan planted her feet, tightened the band on her brunette ponytail, and glanced over her shoulder toward the sound. “I’m a fighter. Fighters stand their ground,” she said, but Jason had disappeared through the nearby stand of mountain laurel. “Shit!” she whispered through clenched teeth.
She took a quick glance in the direction of the OPFOR–or opposing forces–who were shouting to each other in the woods behind her–and took off down the game trail. In less than twenty yards, she stumbled when her toe snagged a tree root, throwing her forward. A dull thunk filled her head as her temple slammed into a rock.
Pain clamped around her head like a vise. On her knees, holding her head with both hands, Joan squinted through the pain, trying to locate her rifle. Her thoughts slogged along as if through hair gel and the muffled yells of the OPFOR searching for her and Jason filtered through. The sounds of the ongoing pursuit tripped a switch, kicking in her survival instincts.
Joan struggled to her feet. The ground under her boots felt wonky, as if it were fluid. On her feet and reeling, Joan shook her head to widen her field of vision. Pain shot down the side of her face. Through the haze, she spied her rifle and leaned forward to grab it. The earth rolled and tilted away from her. She lurched past her rifle as her feet tried to keep up. Then she felt it–the burning sting of a bullet. She grabbed her right butt cheek and fell to her knees.
Dammit! She dropped to her left hip.
It wasn’t a real bullet. Joan knew that. But being hit by a Simu-nition round was as close to being hit by a real bullet as possible without damage to the body.
“That’ll leave a mark,” she grumbled under her breath.
Trained to the point of perfection, she wasn’t sure which hurt more, her buttocks or her pride. She got to her knees and snatched the sling on her rifle. Before she could get to her feet, a strong hand grabbed the back of her shirt and propelled her down the trail. One look over her right shoulder and all the anxiety, aggression, and fear of the previous several hours drained from her system and congealed in her stomach. It was Duncan.
“The first time I met you, I knew you were trouble and I’d have to save your ass,” he said.
Joan looked up into Duncan’s direct, unflinching eyes framed by battle-hardened lines. “If I’m too much trouble, put me down. I can make it on my own.”
The throaty response might have meant disbelief, but she didn’t have time to think about it. Something changed. At first, Joan couldn’t put her finger on it. Everything beyond her breathing was still muffled. She exhaled–the shooting had stopped. No more yelling. The exercise was over.
Duncan half-carried her the last thirty yards to the spot in the game trail where Jason was retracing his steps to find her.
“Isn’t she supposed to be with you?” Duncan asked as he released his hold on Joan with a slight push in Jason’s direction.
“She was right behind me,” Jason replied, “but when I looked back…” His voice trailed off when he realized Duncan had vanished.
Jason then took a good look at Joan. “Holy, shi–i–moley.”
Joan’s field of vision was clearing and widening, but her head was pounding. She pulled the camouflage-colored kerchief from around her neck, patted the side of her head. She looked at her kerchief. “Damn. I’m bleeding. Is it bad?”
“Nah, a little make-up and you’ll be fine,” Jason lied.
Silently wishing for the pounding to stop, she eyed the pin-hole scars from piercings, the rings long gone. A tattoo peeked at her from the edge of his collar. She was told he was former Marine Recon.
Wondering what happened for him to pierce and ink himself up, she watched as he took his khaki-colored scarf from around his neck and folded it to form a makeshift bandage.
“So, what are you bringing to the Legion?” he asked.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re ex-military, for sure. Army? Marines?”
Before Joan could answer, a voice penetrated the forest. Murphy, their team leader, shouted for everyone to move out.
“We’re moving to the rendezvous point for our ride.” Jason ducked his head a little so they were eye-to-eye. “You gonna be okay?” Without waiting for an answer, he grabbed her kerchief from her hand and used it to secure his makeshift bandage to the side of her face. “There. You look better already.”
Her eyes narrowed from the splitting headache, Joan glared at him. “Funny. I don’t feel better already.” She shifted the sling on her shoulder. “Let’s go. It’ll take more than a rock to the head to keep me down.”
With the jarring from every step sending lightning bolts of pain to her temple, she followed Jason down the trail to the rendezvous point. The sky spit snowflakes into their faces. The wind kicked up and the autumn leaves, mixed with the icy flakes, slapped into them.
“This has ceased to be fun,” she said.
© 2013 by Janet McClintock