by Evette Davis
Flesh & Bone Books
Out: June 21, 2022
The year is 2042, and the United States is recovering from a series of terrorist attacks that uprooted the government, revoked civil liberties, and erased two states from the map.
Widow, single mother, and Army veteran Jennifer “River” Petersen drives trucks for a living in Energy Territory No. 1, formerly known as North Dakota. Forced to enlist after her father’s death, the lines of River’s life have been redrawn, much like the United States’ map has changed. Living in a motel room with nothing but her books and a Glock handgun for company, River is weeks away from returning home when an injured man standing in the middle of the highway upends her plans.
From the moment he encounters River, Finn Cunningham knows he must choose between concealing his identity as the son of the president of the United States or be left for dead. His deception draws him and River into a megalomaniac’s deadly conspiracy to ignite a civil war and overthrow the gov- ernment.
If River and Finn are going to survive, they’ll have to learn to trust one another and themselves.
A former journalist-turned-political consultant and novelist, Davis found her inspiration for 48 States from her day job, where she advises some of the country’s largest corporations, non-profits, and institutions on pub- lic policy. 48 States is making its debut in a time of instability marked by the January 6 Capitol Hill riots. But author Evette Davis said that several years ago, she envisioned a crisis that ensues when one powerful man amasses a private army to seize control of the nation.
“Powered by impeccably deep character development (every major player is insightfully explored, particularly River) and a storyline that may not seem so far-fetched after recent polit- ical events—book bans, federal curfews, and digital identity chips—Davis creates a terrifying near future… With a break- neck pace from the first page to the last, this book is so much more than just a well-written dystopian thriller. The questions that the author raises should resonate with readers long after the novel is finished. An adept and chilling cautionary tale— the narrative equivalent of brass knuckles to the skull.”
– Kirkus, Starred Review
A thrilling novel with compelling characters, 48 States by Evette Davis is a meditation on extremism and the power of love and forgiveness.
Fast-paced prose, with vivid narrative and rapid-fire dialogue, 48 States is perfect for readers who loved novels like Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, California by Edan Lepucki, and Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins.
“Most dystopian novels involve the end of civilization through illness or disaster,” Davis said. “48 States con- templates how smaller things can send life as we know it off the rails.”
- Tell us a little about how this story first came to be. Did it start with an image, a voice, a concept, a dilemma, or something else?
48 States was born out of a National Geographic magazine story describing the booming economy in North Dakota and how people were leaving their homes in other states during the recession to work there, as fracking became a dominant industry. The article’s primary subject was a mother from Montana who took a job driving a waste haul truck. The image stuck with me and formed the foundation for River, one of the main characters in 48 States.
- What, if anything, did you learn when writing the book?
After three revisions of the manuscript with my editor, I learned that character development is the blood, sweat, and tears of writing.
- What surprised you the most in writing it?
How similar the story ended up being to current events. When I started working, it seemed squarely in the corner of speculative fiction/ science fiction/ dystopian reality.
- What does the title mean?
It refers to the state of things in the novel after the government removes two states from the union.
- Were any of the characters inspired by real people? If so, do they know?
48 States carries hints of several national figures, but none of them know.
- Do you consider the book to have a lesson or moral?
48 States is about the power of love and forgiveness.
- What is your favorite part of the book?
I love chapter one, which draws the reader in. I’m fond of the last chapters of the book, too.
- Which character was most challenging to create? Why?
Red, who is the villain. It was challenging to put myself in the mindset of a mercenary person who’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants.
- What are your immediate future plans?
I have another novel coming out in early 2023, the final installment of my Dark Horse urban fantasy trilogy. Beyond that, I have enough ideas to keep me busy for another 10-15 years, including a romance series, a spinoff of my trilogy involving a security firm run by supernatural beings, and a few stand-alone novels.
About the Author
Evette Davis is the novelist who created the “Dark Horse” trilogy, including novels Woman King and Dark Horse. The final installment will be published in 2023. Davis also co-owns BergDavis Public Affairs, a San Francisco-based public affairs firm. Before establishing her firm, Davis worked in Washington as a press secretary for a member of Congress and as a reporter for daily newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2014, she founded Flesh & Bone, an independent publishing imprint. In 2015, Dark Horse received honors at the San Francisco Book Festival. In 2017, Friends of the San Francisco Public Library named Davis a Library Laureate. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and Book Country. In 2021, 48 States was honored in the San Francisco Writers Confer- ence Writers Contest. Davis splits her time between San Francisco and Sun Valley, Idaho, with her husband, daughter, and their American Labrador retriever.
For more information, visit evettedavis.com, or follow her on Pinterest (@evettedavis399), Instagram (@evette1364), Twitter (@SFEvette), Facebook (@evette1364) and Goodreads (@evettesf).