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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Jeffrey W. Tenney’s Kimberling Bridge is a story of survival in a world gone mad. William is alone, dwelling under a bridge in Arkansas. Every day his situation worsens, he struggles, questioning his existence. At seventy-two, he is exhausted, too old to deal with simply surviving. What’s the use? Humanity has turned inhumane. “The ticking clock had started...humans had proved themselves a disgrace to the entire planet.” Then a young teenage girl shows up. Kat changes William’s perspective. Life and survival are no longer just about him. Kat asks William to take her to her aunt in Reeds Spring, Missouri. William and Kat set out on an incredible adventure through the Ozark Woods. The trek is dangerous, there is no way to avoid the violence ahead of them, but at least life has a purpose again.
Jeffrey W. Tenney nails it! Kimberling Bridge is a riveting dystopian adventure! Using his degree in anthropology as a catalyst, Tenney creates a story of survival in a post-apocalyptic world. The narrative exposes the soul-suffering of society when anarchy attempts to rule. The characterization is exceptional. The aging hero looks for purpose within a world with no meaning. His purpose arrives in the character of a young girl. She is far from innocent, yet vulnerable, a victim of the world’s inhumanity. The protagonist does what every hero should - he takes responsibility for her, and the lives of others. The bond between William and Kat is the life-blood of the novel.
Brutal gang violence, death, starvation, and injustice collide with “kill or be killed” self-preservation. Survival is a shared ambition on both sides of the conflict. The question at the heart of the narrative is “what would you do to survive?” Alliances are vital, but who can you trust? As the plot action rises and peaks, a showdown between justice and injustice occurs. Yet, what was sacrificed for the sake of justice? Jeffrey W. Tenney paints a portrait of chaotic beauty in Kimberling Bridge. He blends the heinously absurd with the spirit of camaraderie, depicting the truth - there is no greater love than to lay your life down for a friend.