A Beginning at the End by Mike Chen

Pop star Moira takes advantage of the frenzy of another flu epidemic to escape her controlling father and reinvent herself as an everyday working girl about to get married. Her wedding planner Krista somehow gets hooked into babysitting Sunny, the daughter of Moira’s work colleague Rob. When Sunny goes missing, Moira and Krista follow Rob into the wastelands, through communes, and around police cordons to find her, Rob knowing that he must confess the truth about Sunny’s mother. Chen builds a credible post-apocalyptic world with a divided US population of those who continue to follow laws in hopes of normalization and those who no longer believe in them after the global flu pandemic. His characters are unique and interesting if not necessarily endearing, and even secondary characters (including the fiancee and his family) maintain their integrity and presence. Dear Readers who love character-driven sci-fi will appreciate Chen’s style. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this story by one of my favorite authors from the publisher Mira Books through NetGalley.