Survival in postapocalyptic Las Vegas: Jarret Keene’s ‘Hammer of the Dogs’ explores a fierce new world

Set in the wasteland of post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, Hammer of the Dogs is a literary dystopian adventure filled with high-octane fun starring 21-year-old Lash. With her high-tech skill set and warrior mentality, Lash is a master of her own fate as she helps to shield the Las Vegas Valley’s survivors and protect her younger classmates at a paramilitary school holed up in Luxor on the Las Vegas Strip. After graduation, she’ll be alone in fending off the deadly intentions and desires of the school’s most powerful opponents. 

When she’s captured by the enemy warlord, she’s surprised by two revelations: He’s not the monster her headmaster wants her to believe, and the one thing she can’t safeguard is her own heart. Hammer of the Dogs celebrates the courageousness of a younger generation in the face of authority while exploring the difficult choices a conscionable young woman must make with her back against a blood-spattered wall. It’s a story of transformation and maturity, as Lash grapples with her own identity and redefines the glittering Las Vegas that Nevada is known for.

Peter Telep, author of Tom Clancy’s EndWar: The Missing, calls Hammer of the Dogs, “A thrilling adventure starring an unforgettable warrior.” Todd Pierce, who wrote The Australia Stories, says, “A dozen years after Hunger Games and Divergent were first published, Hammer of the Dogs lights Las Vegas aflame with a postapocalyptic fury, in which a new generation must reclaim the world from those who ruined it.”

Author Jarret Keene earned his PhD in creative writing at Florida State University and is now an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he teaches American literature and the graphic novel. He has written a travel guide, a rock-band biography, and poetry collections. He’s edited short fiction anthologies, including Las Vegas Noir and Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas.

Excerpt from Hammer of the Dogs, Chapter 1:

Lash used a rock to smash the window of a vacant tract home. Before climbing in, she looked to see if the microdrone had followed. It careened from the front of the house, the pilot overcorrecting, the machine glancing off the brick facade. It was a nasty homebrew with a thermal-imaging camera and what looked like an SRS A-2, the world’s smallest sniper rifle. The four brushless motors had no gears, making it a quiet, efficient, nearly inescapable killer. She knew the hushed rotor wash would be imperceptible, even inches from her face. But Lash didn’t hear drones; she intuited them. Drones changed the atmosphere around her. She was drawn to them, repulsed by them. For the briefest moment, her adversary had her mesmerized.

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