I swear I haven't read a Mellick book that I haven't loved. He's just so good at taking absolutely absurd ideas and situations and making them so entertaining. This is another one that I read in a single sitting, and I think that's also part of the appeal. His books are like a delicious meal that can be savored and finished in a short space of time. You know that the entrée is going to be something odd that you've never had before, but by the end, you will definitely want to try more of what Mellick has on the menu.
THE TERRIBLE THING THAT HAPPENS is probably one of my favorites from Mellick to date. Years ago the world ended. Now reduced to nothing but toxic ash and rubble, there are a few bands of survivors roaming the wastelands. One such group is a community of mutated people who have learned to survive the harsh conditions on the surface of the earth and actually thrive because they have discovered the last grocery store in the world. Every night at the exact same time, the store lights up and all the shelves become fully replenished with fresh food and beverages. Ghost shoppers walk the isles filling baskets without any hurry. But for the present-day humans who visit the store to collect the much-needed provisions it has to offer, there is a warning and a strict time limit that has been passed down through generations. Before the world was destroyed a terrible thing happened in that grocery store, and masked men rushed inside and massacred everyone. These terrible things also happens every night, in the exact same manner. The only way the survivors can take advantage of the bounty in the store is to memorize all the patterns of the killing spree, and navigate the store before the carnage starts to happen.
There's so much more to this story than that summary, and all of what I mentioned above can be found on the back of the book. It's a unique idea that had me turning pages until I realized suddenly that I was finished. The best parts of a Melllick book are in the details, and you'll see what I mean when you read this one. I have no idea how he comes up with these ideas. I was basically retelling the story to my husband yesterday and he was utterly transfixed. I can tell when he's just humoring my love of books and when he's truly interested, and this time I could tell he was invested in what I was saying. There is laugh out loud parts to this book, and parts that are actually really sad, but ultimately anything can and will happen in a book by Mellick, and as readers, we are just along for the ride. I can't wait to pick up another book by him.
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