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Apparent Horizon

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With no tomorrow, what are we capable of today?

On the eve of his best friend's wedding, Michael is warned by an old classmate, now a NASA scientist, that a gamma ray burst from a nearby exploding star will hit the Earth the following morning at 11:13 a.m. - an incident that will irrevocably destroy the ozone layer, disrupt the food chain, and ultimately prove cataclysmic for all life on the planet.

Michael and the groom-to-be, Drew, laugh off the prediction as a demented joke. However, at precisely 11:13 a.m. the next day, a blinding light in the sky disrupts Drew's wedding. News media outlets dismiss the cosmic event as a harmless phenomenon, but Michael knows better. Wrestling with the burden of his truth, uncertain of how much time he has left or just what to do with it, Michael finds himself alienated from everything and everyone he's ever known.

Under Drew's influence, Michael begins to transform his rather mundane life, previously shackled by powerlessness and fear, into something more unrestrained and ultimately dangerous. Feeling the weight of an unseen doomsday clock ticking his final days away, he pushes the moral envelope further and further on a quest for control over his own reality - no matter who might suffer for it.


Published October 6, 2020

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About the author

Patrick Morgan

5 books46 followers
Patrick Morgan is a writer, dog dad, and hammock enthusiast who currently resides in Los Angeles, California.

He is the author of It Will End in Disaster, Hope's Last Refuge, Viaticum, Realms, and Apparent Horizon.

When not writing books, Patrick enjoys spending time with friends and family. He is a big fan of the ocean, the beach in general, plants, nature, the New England Patriots, and Nacho Cheese Doritos dipped in cold Tostitos Salsa Con Queso (don't knock it till you've tried it).

You can contact him via his website at: www.patrickmorganonline.com.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 24 of 24 reviews
Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,647 reviews2,559 followers
January 27, 2021
Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com

Patrick Morgan’s novel Apparent Horizon starts with the main character, Michael Cavanaugh, getting drunk with his two best friends in Drew Baskin’s home on the night before Drew’s wedding. The third friend, Aaron Hillson, tells Michael and Drew of top-secret research he did at NASA with Gamma rays, which are released during a supernova—when a giant star collapses on itself creating a black hole.

Aaron tells them that the gamma rays from a supernova will reach earth at 11:13 in the morning, which will be during Drew’s outdoor wedding. Sure enough, at 11:13 during the wedding vows, the sky brightens both beautifully and frighteningly. The priest makes light of the phenomena by saying, “What we just witnessed was a blessing from God on this marriage.”

Three days later, Michael goes to Aaron’s apartment and discovers his dead body with a suicide note written to Michael explaining that he didn’t want to be around while the world quickly moves toward its doom. The rest of the novel is about how poorly Michael and Drew handle life during the approaching doom.

This dark novel is very well written and edited. I don’t recall reading a novel in which the main character has so few admirable qualities. In fact, I don’t recall any admirable characters in the whole novel. I was expecting to read a survival story that might turn dark at the end. I wasn’t expecting so much darkness throughout the story, and I don’t recall ever reading a novel in which the author gives the main character so many flaws. This is a very unique novel.
Profile Image for Amanja.
530 reviews53 followers
March 2, 2021
Review originally published at https://amanjareads.com/2021/02/22/ap...

Thank you so much to author Patrick Morgan for providing me with a copy of Apparent Horizon in exchange for this honest review.

Apparent Horizon is an apocalypse story of a different breed. We're used to reading about a character trying to survive after everything has already gotten as bad as it could get. This story follows a character as he believes the world is ending but no one else in the world seems to think so.

The book opens with trio of friends Drew, Michael, and Aaron. Drew is getting married in the morning and the bros are celebrating in the traditional manner of getting drunk and bashing the prison of marriage. Eye roll. Drew is a total tool. I really dislike him right from the start and the way he treats his best friends by the end of the night makes me like him even less.

Honestly, this whole book was a struggle for me as far as the characters go. They're extraordinarily unlikable. It is somewhat necessary for this particular story to be told but it did make it more difficult to get into.

So at this final night of bachelorhood Aaron drunkenly confesses something huge to his friends. He works for NASA and has been privy to some serious information. He says that tomorrow a gamma ray burst will hit the earth and it will kick start the absolute destruction of the planet.

The other two don't really know what to make of this until the next day when an odd event seems to take place in the sky during the ceremony. At exactly the time Aaron said it would. Apparently, this gamma ray concern is real.

The concern gets even realer when Aaron kills himself and leaves a note telling Michael he should do the same rather than suffer the upcoming fate of the world. Woah.

Drew takes this opportunity to act like even more of a dick. Pusillanimous Michael wants to finally follow his lead and live his life more fully. Apparently, this means being a jerk, getting very drunk, and doing illegal and amoral things at any opportunity. Not exactly where my head would go immediately but let's see how this pans out.

Throughout the rest of the book we follow Michael as he does terrible terrible things that are never justifiable even at the end of the world. All the while he manages to justify his behavior to himself. He seems to think of himself as some sort of violent hero, a vigilante serving up justice, a batman. Well, I also think Batman is a total jerk so here we are.

I told myself this would be a four or a three star review based on the ending. If Michael fully got away with his terrible behavior I was going to have a hard time with it. However, if the book became preachy and bogged down with moralistic platitudes I was also going to have a hard time.

Luckily, the ending of Apparent Horizon managed to find a more nuanced approach to complete the story and I was satisfied with the end. Overall, I enjoyed the idea of the story being told but it's hard for me to get around hating a protagonist.

I can say that if you were a fan of the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down you will love this book. That movie also isn't my cup of macho male fantasy but I know it is a big hit for a different audience. If you are in that camp then definitely give Apparent Horizon a shot.

Profile Image for Aidan Ricketts.
43 reviews
December 3, 2020
This book defied my expectations, being a strange existential character study with thriller mixed in, all grounded by a touch of sci-fi. It was very cynical, but I still enjoyed it. It took a simple concept and ran with it in a way that I wasn’t expecting at all.

The premise of the book is that Micheal finds out that the world is going to end, the night before his best friends wedding. The book develops from there, as he struggles with the morals of telling other people about this, as well as what to do with his limited remaining time.

Michael is a likable enough character as the book starts, but I struggle to continue to root for him as the book continues due to some of the choices he makes. Patrick Morgan uses him to paint a very pessimistic view of humanity in my opinion, which fundamentally clashes with my own world view. However, he does a good job of instilling a sense of agency in Michael, and of making us feel sorry for him. His emotions are clearly in conflict, and the deep exploration of this makes up the character study part of the novel.

Morgan’s cynical approach to characters doesn’t end with Michael however. His best friend, Drew, is a nasty piece of work whom I despised right from the onset. It felt strange that Michael was such good friends with someone who didn’t have a selfless bone in his body however. Drew’s actions never seem out of place, as horrible as he may be, and that was a real strength of the book. All the characters the author created followed this pattern.

The plot was very depressing overall. There was very few feel good moments, and those that occurred were often the outcome of Pyrrhic victories. However, it was well thought out, and the final twist of the book was unexpected for the most part, and allows the whole book to be viewed in a new light.

The pacing of the novel was unorthodox to say the least. It swung from fast and furious action to pages of slow pondering about the meaning of life. Yet, to my surprise, I found I really liked the effect this created. It certainly fit with how Michael progressed as a character. However, I thought the first chapter was kind of irrelevant to the rest of the book, and can also see how this pacing might put some people off.

For a debut novel, Morgan’s writing style is polished. I found it flowed extremely well, and never distracted from the action at hand. I wouldn’t say it was exceptionally unique, but was good thriller writing. It was also well edited.

I give it a 5 out of 7. As mentioned above, I found it hard to connect with Michael after a while, but I think this was more personal preference than anything else. I feel like this book definitely has an audience who will fully appreciate it, and I wasn’t it. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked it, but there were some element that didn’t sit well by the end. If it does appeal to you though, I’d encourage you to pick it up, since I feel it has the potential to be profound to the right person.

Thanks to both Rosie and Patrick Morgan for providing me with a free copy, which I received in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Terry Tyler.
Author 29 books567 followers
November 19, 2020
I received an ARC of this book to review for Rosie Amber's Book Review Team. The fact that it was free has not affected this honest review.

This was a terrific story, a most original idea that would make a marvellous film or miniseries. Three friends, Michael, Drew and Aaron, get together on the eve of Drew's wedding. Aaron, who works on top secret projects at NASA, tells the other two about a gamma ray burst that will hit the southern hemisphere the next day. He warns that it will quickly destroy the food chain, cause massive radiation and thus end human life on earth, sooner rather than later. Basically, the world is about to end.

During Drew's wedding the sky does indeed light up at exactly the time Aaron predicted, but the news media dismisses it as a harmless event, as he warned would happen.

The story is written in the third person POV of Michael, and details his reactions to this news, and the effect it has on him. Having always been an introverted sort of guy who lived a 'safe' life, he wonders if, now that there is so little time left, he can let loose a part of himself that he is not even sure exists.

The characters are all clearly defined, and the dialogue is great—you know it's good when you don't feel as though you're 'reading dialogue', as I didn't, in this. The plot itself is extremely well thought out, with plenty of surprises, though a few warning bells did ring for me early on. On the whole I enjoyed reading it, though I found it somewhat lacking in suspense; there was too much 'Michael did this, then Michael did that'. I thought some of the detail could have been edited out; a loss of around twenty-per cent could have made it sharper, fast-paced, more of a page-turner. It just needed a bit more pizazz, to do justice to the excellent plot. I also expected a final twist that never came; okay, I'd actually decided what it would be, but this is Patrick Morgan's book, not mine!

This is a commendable first novel, and I'm sure that the author will develop his style as he continues to write. Nice one.

Profile Image for Caitlin Moss.
Author 6 books172 followers
March 29, 2022
No one writes like Morgan. His books are incomparable. His voice and prose are distinct. His writing is smart and clean. His imagery is so vivid, you'd think the words on the pages are breathing. The universes he creates in each book will blow your mind and Apparent Horizon is no exception.

I flew through it. I couldn't absorb the details fast enough. I went from hating characters to understanding them to questioning them to not believing them again.

And that ending? Like all of Morgan's books, I HAVE THEORIES.
Profile Image for Alejandra Andrade.
Author 4 books181 followers
August 31, 2021
What would you do if you knew the world is going to end?

Apparent Horizon touches on several topics that I find very interesting. First and foremost, human nature. Michael Cavanaugh, our MC, is a very flawed character. However, his actions and decisions served as an example of how everything we do isn’t without consequence, even if we are convinced that the world will end. I’m used to reading books with very strong and “perfect” MCs, so this was a very refreshing read in that sense. I always love to get inside a character’s mind and try to understand their motives, especially when they don’t align with mine.

Michael led a dull and predictable life and knowing that the world was going to end made him spiral out of control very quickly. It’s as if he wanted to fix things and make himself feel better with a few erratic and dangerous actions. Momentarily, those decisions made him feel like, for once, he was in charge of his life.

Once again, Morgan offers us an open-ended conclusion to this story. But if you ask me, all I could think about while reading was how the world was most definitely not ending and Michael would have to live the rest of his life dragging the consequences of the regrettable decisions he made at the spur of the moment, all for a fleeting sense of artificial control. Yet, deep down, I keep wishing the world does end for the sake of Michael and the situation in which he hauled himself into.

I cannot end this review without mentioning Drew. He is a cunning character that is the epitome of temptation itself. He lures you in, makes you give yourself into your deepest, darkest desires, and once you’re ready to snap out of it, he drops your hand and lets you fall into the abyss of consequence and accountability. I still can’t shake off the injustice. But such is life. It only makes it all more raw and real.

Moral of the story: Don’t wait for the world to end to start living your life on your terms.

++Points for mentioning Tecate.
++Points for mentioning 2001: A Space Odyssey.
++This highlight got me thinking about the impact and resonance of the things we say to others: “No one has to do anything anymore. Ever again.” Michael fell asleep thinking about those words.
++Grab a copy and read it before the world ends.
1 review
August 30, 2021
This book left me torn up and stumbling over my thoughts, desperately trying to shift through all the motivations and reasons behind the decisions that took place by the main character, that at every turn left me more and more shocked. If you want a thinker, then this is it.

Michael Cavanaugh. Michael is not entirely a villain, but he is definitely not a hero either. Nor is he particularly driven or motivated by anything of real significance. Perhaps he’s a victim in a way or perhaps not. I do think however, that Michael is quite real and not within short supply in our world.
I really wanted to like Michael and I suppose I did and I still do. I just couldn’t shake his desperation for a sense of power and control. It teetered dangerously on the edge of a knife, at once immobilizing him when it mattered and motivating him into terrible decisions when it didn’t.
I felt this story spoke to the patriarchy from a perspective that is rarely discussed, highlighting our desire for control and our fear of vulnerability.
It's a dark and twisting road, leading us along Michaels journey that reminds us that a mans strength doesn’t come from his physical dominance, or his ability to leverage a system designed for him to win anyway. A mans strength comes from his ability to be vulnerable and sit in it. To let go of the notion of control and realize, that that is the only thing in which we actually have any control over.
Profile Image for Al.
1,168 reviews29 followers
February 21, 2021
The premise of this story is an interesting one. If you along with everyone else in the world have only a short time to live, would you live your life differently? If the answer is yes, in what way? Does it matter if no one else or at least very few people know what is happening? Do you become a better person? Do you start knocking items off your bucket lists as fast as you can? Do you no longer worry about what is considered acceptable, figuring the consequences will never catch up to you? The answer to this is one that could go many different ways. Then, at least if I’m the reader, I wonder how credible the “we’re all going to die” claim really is. I’m not sure the answers to these questions, at least if I was living out this story, would be the same for me as they were for Michael, the protagonist, or his in-the-know friends. But I’m not sure it wouldn’t be either. Ultimately, I found Apparent Horizon to be both thought provoking and suspenseful as I wondered where things were going to go.

**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
October 6, 2020
A page-turner from start to finish! This debut work by Patrick Morgan keeps readers on the edge of their seats as they explore morality and decision-making at the end of the world. I really enjoyed the vivid descriptions, powerful imagery, and well-developed characters. It kept me guessing until the last page, and the content feels especially relevant in 2020 as the world faces never-before-seen challenges and ethical dilemmas. You won’t want to miss the first of what will undoubtedly be a long career of work from this new author!
November 30, 2022
So essentially, I found that the most amusing way in which to approach reading this story is [inserting] names of characters from your own past that you believe still have karma coming for them. Just swap the names out of every single character and … Baddabing Baddaboom there’s your feel good story.

All jokes aside, great writing and unique in that everything about the story was undesirable and rough, a solid psychological thriller vibe up to the bitter end. Yes, it should come with a warning sign. But so should life. (And oddly enough, that made it hard to put down).
1 review1 follower
October 6, 2020
What happens when your normal is challenged? This question is explored in Morgan's book as he takes the reader through the life of his main character Michael when he finds out that life as he knows is going to end. How would you react to the end of the world and the potential of all consequences to be meaningless? Would your life take a turn as Michael's does? A suspenseful read that keeps you guessing until the end, Morgan's book is a great read from a great new author.
October 6, 2020
This one is a real page-turner. I was thoroughly entertained by the story and prose. I could not put it down. There were countless times when I found myself constantly wondering what was going to happen next at the stakes kept getting higher and higher up until the final scenes. What a wild ride! Buy this book, you will not regret it.
1 review
October 7, 2020
What a read! I couldn't put it down. Masterful story telling...I love books that take me away from reality and put me in a world I never imagined. I loved the angle of the story and following the lead character Michael on his journey and transformation while carrying the weight of an impending doomsday.
Profile Image for Maja.
11 reviews6 followers
October 15, 2021
If you haven’t read it you must! The description and details in this book gives you a clear understanding of characters emotions, that way that you want more .Takes you outside of your comfort zone. Reading this book I felt like I was watching the movie.It’s a definitely page turner!
Question: could one person change their life, if they believe their actions without long term consequences?!
October 6, 2020
Incredible and thrilling take on the moral question of "what would you do with final moments to live?". Couldn't put the book down! It was a quick read that was packed with fantastic depth. I recommend it to anyone who likes a dark, edgy thriller type story.
October 6, 2020
A very timely and gripping story. It's a true page-turner, a thrilling exploration of one man's relationship to the impending end times. Dark, chilling, at times horrifying. Patrick Morgan's facility with language and description makes for a well-realized world. A captivating read.
1 review
October 6, 2020
I am so glad that reading is my newfound COVID quarantine hobby so that I could get swept into this equally twilight zone-esque world created by the author. The plotline kept me from being able to put the book down because I needed to find out what happens next. Absolutely recommend!
1 review
October 7, 2020
I enjoyed this book right from the start. The evolution of the main character Michael was interesting, fun and chilling all at the same time. A great read that won’t disappoint!!
October 10, 2020
Such. A. Page-turner! I couldn't put it down. Also really on-brand with the unprecedented, apocalyptic times we're living in. It was disturbing in that way, but I'm all about it!
Profile Image for Carolyn Frost.
3 reviews
October 20, 2020
Woww... this one stays with you long after finishing. Very well written and a complex story that keeps you on edge throughout the entirety.
2 reviews
March 4, 2021
Great imagery throughout the book. I couldn't put it down. Patrick Morgan is an author on the rise to greater things! A must read!
Profile Image for Rachel  LaBerge.
125 reviews
April 29, 2021
I thought this would be a story about apocalypse survival, with a head start due to inside information. I was like 8% correct. High level, our main character (Michael) learns of an event that's going to end the world... 12 hours before it's supposed to happen. The main character is conflicted with what to do with the information and how to continue on while walking on death's dock.

It's different to read a novel where all of the characters are so disastrous and flawed (besides Tucker the dog). Even so, the plot is crafted in a way where you're still invested in the main character and his shift in outlook... no matter how many times you're screaming at him through the pages. Michael is dubious, strangely unlikeable, and truly lost.

Patrick Morgan's debut novel delves into new corners of the apocalyptic genre and doesn't disappoint. Apparent Horizon is fresh ideas paired with a nagging, dark quality. Buckle up, you'll need something light hearted after you finish this one.

This book kept me thinking long after I closed it. If I knew the end was coming, would I share this with anyone? Is this a burden or a curse? I still don't know how I feel...
Profile Image for Heather Barksdale.
Author 1 book21 followers
August 21, 2021
“Apparent Horizon” introduces Michael Cavanaugh, an underachieving young man in his twenties, who is celebrating the upcoming nuptials for his best friend, Drew. Their long-time friend, Aaron, is also celebrating with them but something is bothering him. Aaron ends up revealing that while working at his dream job for NASA, he and his coworkers discovered a terrible truth - that the end of the world would happen sooner than anyone could imagine.

Overall, I found the book to be well-written with an interesting concept. Ultimately, this story is about the choices that we make as humans. When we are faced with decisions to chose good or evil without consequence, what do we decide to do? Interesting concept right? Unfortunately, the protagonist and main ancillary character in this novel are rather repugnant to begin with. The best thing about the guy is his love for his dog, Tucker, and at times even this is questionable. So instead of following a de-evolution of a nice guy and his friend, the story follows a not-so-good-guy and his journey into darkness. The ending was intriguing, but a little open-ended for me. If you love to hate a protagonist- this one is for you!

The full blog post can be found here: https://heatherlbarksdale.com/blog/bl...

I received a copy of this story in exchange of a fair and honest review.
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