what I’m reading: blackout by marc elsberg.

When the electrical grids collapse across Europe, everyone thinks the failure is temporary and that the power will be restored soon. However as the hours and days go on and the power remains off, panic starts to ensue in the cities and the governments and bureaucrats realize they don’t know what is going on. Former hacker Piero Manzaro believes he has discovered who is behind the attacks. But when he tries to warn officials, his hacker background soon makes him a prime suspect. Forced to go on the run with an American CNN reporter, Piero races to uncover who has turned off the power before everything gets worse.

This was a thought provoking page-turner and another book that made me think. There were so many things I’ve never thought about that would happen if the electricity was cut widespread for more than a few hours. Not just the food in my refrigerator would spoil, but all the food in storage warehouses that is waiting to be transported would go bad. Livestock would die because they need electricity to keep warm or cows in massive milking facilities would die because the machinery to milk the cows would not work. Generators supplying electricity to hospitals would fail because they ran out of fuel and gas could not be pumped from electric pumps.

I found myself looking around my apartment, taking note of where my candles were and where the flashlights are. Do I need more candles?, I thought. What would I do if the power were to go out for more than a few hours?

While Piero Manzaro is the main character and the hunt to figure out how the electrical grids collapsed is the main focus, I felt the real point of this book was showing how dependent we all are on electricity and how quickly that can be taken away. The book spans a period of a couple of weeks, but the destruction that occurs in that short time frame was alarming.

This book can be a little confusing because there are so many characters introduced in the beginning. Scenes change frequently and the story shifts between Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, Brussels, and France roughly every page or 2. Every time I read about a new character I would wonder if I needed to remember who they were or if they were going to show up again and I struggled a bit to get straight all the people and places.

In all, an interesting story about something I’ve never really thought about before.