THREE DEGREES AND GONE
J. Stewart Willis
Black Rose Writing (2020)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (12/19)
“Three Degrees and Gone” by J. Stewart Willis is an engaging, thought-provoking story about immigration, the global environment, survival and greed, with twists that are as entertaining as they are alarming – especially when you consider the environmental issues currently facing the world.
Set in 2087, Mother Nature has restructured the layout of North America, with coastal flooding leaving many areas in desolation, the continent as a whole bearing little resemblance to what we know today. The US has become a nation of migrants, everyone looking for a better life, no matter the cost. Readers follow three families who hire human traffickers to help them cross the border into Canada. But Canada no longer touts an open-door immigration policy and with a border wall, drone patrol and satellites, these families may find their journey futile. Those who do succeed might just realize that the old adage of the grass being greener on the other side is nothing more than a saboteur of hopes and dreams.
“Three Degrees and Gone” is an exciting reading experience. The plot, while seemingly familiar to current events, takes a new twist and it’s the Americans migrating to other countries in search of a better life. I love it when an author turns the tables on everything we know and take for granted, and makes you think about alternate possibilities. Willis has a knack for taking the realities of today and turning them into more than possibilities – more like probabilities if we don’t, as a society, clean up our acts! Great writing!
And, while I enjoyed the plotlines immensely, I am a character-driven reader and Willis’s characters are a home run for me. Fresh and multi-dimensional, the characters are fleshed out through the viewpoints of the other characters giving the reader a balanced and well-rounded experience. That the characters were able to evoke such strong reactions from me means Willis did his job well – even the minor characters left an impression on me. It is the main characters and their development where Willis shines. Readers will love to hate many of them – some are just downright obnoxious, some exasperating, while others cross back and forth between the lines of good and bad.
Overall, I highly recommend “Three Degrees and Gone” by J. Stewart Willis for an exciting a memorable read.