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Publisher's Summary

A dense black cloud boiled up in the southeastern sky. It rose high and fast, like a time-lapse movie of the birth of a thunderhead. But it was no rain cloud. Wholly black, it reached up and up until it loomed over her, blocking out the sun. Somehow, she knew, it was Death coming for her.

Pre-med student Coral is on vacation in Idaho when something terrible happens. The black cloud is followed by a wildfire and searing heat that lasts for days. She survives deep in a cave but emerges days later to find the world transformed, with blackened trees, an ash-filled sky, and no living creatures stirring - except for her.

So begins her desperate journey to find water and food and other survivors...and the answer to the mystery of what happened.

Note: This is a combined edition of Gray I, Gray II, and Gray III.

©2017 Lou Cadle (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What listeners say about Gray

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

No sugar coating it, survival is hard

I loved how the author allowed it's characters to really delve into the post-apocalyptic realities. No food, no water, infection disease... The reality of what would come after a catastrophic event is palpable. Very entertaining, easy to follow, worth every minute.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent story and narration~no spoilers

I'm not a zombie/prepper fan, and wonderfully--Gray was neither thing!

I literally just did the 3 books from awake to asleep in 2 nights. Riveted by this series. Here's why I love it, and why you should, too.
1- this is what happens after the world ends. (No spoilers) Lou Cadle wrote a brilliant story with a heroine who's not totally a superhero, and Lauren Fortgang did a FIRST RATE job bringing this entertaining and really well written series to it's conclusion. I'm not spoiling any of it except to say this--all these things are possible. I'm old, old enough to remember old radios, CB and Shortwave, and pretty much she wrote things correctly. The medical parts were reasonably correct, how to milk goats was reasonably correct, Lou did some homework before setting words to page.
No idea if the science is all right but I suspect it's right as well.

The way she told the story was bold and interesting. I am partially sighted so being able to read a story well, brings it to life "in our heads, " When. you have a good narrator, it really makes or breaks a story. Generally I listen to male narrators, being a sci-fi nerd, with the exception of some of Kate Reading's stuff (she does Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive). I'll absolutely listen to this narrator again, she did a great job. She made all the people's voices different, and did the best she could with male voices, there are just some things we women can't do, lower register voices are difficult for women, same as high voices are hard for most men. She kept us, the listener engaged with the story.

ONE thing though--Lou--the word is "Ineptitude", not "Ineptness". When Coral in the book thought Ineptness, I swore because the incorrect word threw me. Otherwise, I loved it.

4 people found this helpful

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I will read it again

This book stays in my mind. Every time I am hungry, thirsty, cold or tired, I now focus on the moment. This book made me realize how good life is here right now.

4 people found this helpful

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Never give up!

I enjoyed this different take on a disaster happening and wish there were more books to read in the series. I will always wonder how their lives turned out. really makes you think about what would survive and who.

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Never ending dribble

First 2 hours was really good. After that it just never gets any different the same problem arises over and over. and then it just ended. save your time and listen to something else

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

This was so well written. So believable in its story telling. A little easy to figure out, but i think that made it more enjoyable like watching a movie where you know who the bad guy is but the MC doesn't. I think i may be easier to survive in a zombie apocalypse than this type of event. Some of the ramifications of this type of situation i didn't even think about. I loved the growth of the MC how she figured things out for herself but recognized her weaknesses and valued her companion. The narrator was great. Not the absolute best I've listened to but close to the top. If you like survival stories that focus on actual survival and don't need to include zombies or contagions , i really recommend this boxset. I will be looking out for more by the author and narrator in the future. Right now i need to pack a bug out bag in my humble opinion.

1 person found this helpful

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I can see what the rave reviews

Storyline, narration and the performance was simply excellent. Glad to have spent the time and the credit.

1 person found this helpful

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Totally awesome

This series was amazing...fell in love with Coral and her ability to get herself out of trouble at each turn. Her smarts were inspirational and her tenacity to dig her heels in and stand her ground when faced with unimaginable circumstances was incredible. She stuck to her guns and survived much. Her love for Benjamin and he for her abounded in the story. They both were willing to sacrifice themselves for the other.
The story was plausible and possible at the same time. I would have liked to have known what the actual EVENT was as I was left guessing throughout.
I wish that we could have learned more about who the person was on the Ham radio and how things were in BC...Winnipeg as well because he must have had contact with someone there...nice to hear about our fair city.
I found Coral to be much older than her years and would have been happier if she was about 25 and Benjamin around 35. To me it would also have been better if she had been first year med student instead of first year pre med....she had far too much knowledge for someone so young with only her first year in university completed.
The story flowed effortlessly and I was pulled into their lives completely.
I would recommend this series very highly and the narrator was phenomenal. Her ability to alter voices was amazing and also the emotion she put into each word makes her one very talented woman.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben
  • 2019-10-08

Nice idea, poor execution.

Repetitive, over explained, too much internal thought. Pointing out the obvious too many times. Could not even finish the first book. It is too bad because I have not come across this scenario yet, and the premis peeked my interest. It felt like the author was writing without a plan, and wandered through the creation of the story much in the same manner as the main character -- lost. In seven chapters, the reader only glimpses a couple scant details about the protagonist and I felt it was very hard to garner any kind of emotional connection with her. Perhaps it is because I was force fed every ounce of her thoughts.

3 people found this helpful

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The Stand, Swan Song....GRAY !!!

Although not quite as "epic" as Swan Song or The Stand, this book will more than likely make you late for an appointment or two if you struggle to control your ability to use the pause button during "a good part". Absolutely worth it if you enjoy the apocalyptic/survival sub-genre.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jamie Weekes
  • 2018-02-26

Just really unbelievable and not in a good way.

I really, really wanted to like this book...

Unfortunately, Gray is a treatise in why authors need to think about how people actually behave. This author did not, and instead used characters like a plot tool. They did what they did, not because any rational human would behave in that way, but so that they could be in the positions that the author felt were necessary for them to set up the plot that he wanted.

For instance, we begin with Coral our protagonist, a 19 year old pre-med student (again she has this background because it's convenient for the author, even though 19 year old pre-med students would be taking history and english classes, not something that would actually be helpful) on a school break, camping alone in her brothers RV in Idaho. Really? How many 19 year old females do you know that drive to a different state alone in an RV to camp for multiple days? How many of those lone 19 year old females would decide to explore a cave? Sounds safe... Bottom line, the protagonist repeatedly makes unbelievable decisions and succeeds in ways that are so far fetched I laughed out loud at multiple points in the story. Pick a lock by feel with nothing but a swiss army knife and no idea what you're doing? And in only a couple hours? Wow. Make a bow out of a stick on your first try? Amazing.

There's also a huge inconsistency in how the destruction from the event happens. Forests? Gone and burned. Buildings? Destroyed with a few exceptions. Corals RV? A little bit smokey, but all her stuff inside is just fine.

On a positive note I thought the performance was decent and I do think that it got marginally better as the story went on. By the end I was at least reasonably interested in Coral and Benjamin, despite the shallow character development and the painful gutting through I had to do to make it there. With a little more work and thought, this book could have been pretty good. But ultimately it was a frustrating listen.

80 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kurt Schwoppe
  • 2017-11-05

Great Story - Superb Value

When comparing entertainment value to story length, Gray: The Complete Collection cannot be beat. Being kind of cheap, I prefer spending credits on longer books, and this was a 24 hour listen fest that I simply could not put down. The combined talents of Lou Cadle and Lauren Fortgang ensured I wasn't disappointed.

For 2017, I've been binge listening to Post Apocalyptic books, and this book is right up there with the best of them. For me, plausibility is a big deal - I like real people solving real problems. I think the author did a great job creating believable situations that held my interest. This is also the first Post Apocalyptic book I've read that was written from the perspective of a woman. Many of the scenes involve her struggling with self-doubts, but always becoming the strong woman at the right time. This may sound tedious, but I felt the way it was written helped embellish the storyline. Some may also feel that the main characters were a bit too lucky, but in this new World you make your own luck, and that's what they did. Overcoming one obstacle after another as the World grew ever bleaker truly holds your interest.

Please don't be put off by my 4 star review. This book is well written and highly entertaining, which most people value (I certainly do). To get a 5th star, a book has to have meaningfulness - it has to make me think. While Gray has some thought provoking situations, at the end of the day, it's a standard overcome all odds type of book. Lauren Fortgang is also, by far, the best female narrator I've listened to; able to read multiple male and female characters equally well. So, if you like the Post Apocalyptic Genre without any zombies, then Gray: The Complete Collection is definitely one that needs to be in your Audible Library.

119 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa Dockins
  • 2017-11-09

Promising but ultimately tedious

The author is truly compelling when writing about the nitty gritty of survival in this post-apocalyptic future. This is most of the first 2/3 of the book. But whenever the plot takes us beyond that into some society it falls apart and becomes cartoonish, almost laughably so. There's no nuance to the secondary characters and antagonists, they are straw men that the main characters can judge, defeat and leave behind. It gets very tedious. And by the end I was so sick of the holier-than-thou attitude of the main characters that I was eager to end the whole thing. In fact I didn't bother with the last hour because it was so annoying and boring. The narration is actually solid throughout, better than the story deserved.

65 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kci3
  • 2017-10-11

Something new in the Apocalypse genre!

One of my favorite books is The Road and many of my book loving friends would call it slow. I found it intense and so beautifully written that I often forgot to breath while listening. The book Gray many would consider a slow book too it is also based on character development and not constant action. For me I found the Gray compelling and always engrossing. I couldn’t wait until I could listen again after work. It is what I call a treasure hunting book in an apocalyptic world, my favorite. I love scavenging, persevering and never giving up hope. I am excited when they find a can of meat or a bottle of medicine that allows them to live one more day. The main characters often do things that I would not have done (I’m more blood thirsty) but I was alright with the decisions because it was more realistic. There were things that bothered me like everyone pretty much being evil and scientific things that would not be true. Even those things did not distract me from loving this book. There are many action packed exciting parts of the book but it is not a constant ongoing part. The book is based on regular everyday people and not the military or super hero’s doing unbelievable things. I rarely give a five star to a book for me what it means is 1. I will go to the author’s web-site 2. I will buy other books by this author 3. I will listen to this book more than once 4. I will tell others about it

60 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bys
  • 2017-11-13

Love during the Apocalypse

Imagine going back to hunting and gathering to survive and throw in cloudy gray skies, ash filled snow and freezing temperatures ! Unlike the pessimism of The Road, the book is hopeful and it is also a unique love story. Not one which starts with a sexual attraction but with a need to trust and rely on another human to survive. I loved the way both protagonists fell under each other's "spell" and ultimately fell in love based on mutual experiences where they had to rely on each other. It really was an amazing tale and I felt lost for a bit when it ended. Kept me running long distances and not minding traffic jams! That's why I love someone telling me a tale....to escape!

12 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Grace
  • 2017-10-10

Impossible to put down

This book was amazing. Well written, great characters, and an engrossing storyline. One of the best post-apocalyptic novels I have ever read.

I was disappointed when I had to stop listening to do things like sleep, work, etc. and spent most of my free time thinking about the novel--what will happen next? What I would do? etc.

Here's a book that will stick with you. Worth every penny (or credit).

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cat's MeWOW
  • 2017-08-17

Was Loathe To Put It Down!

This is one of THE very few audio books I had to listen to straight through. The first chapter ran a bit slow, but I stuck with it and soon enough I had headphones plugged in and had my Kindle tucked under my arm as I cooked dinner, washed dishes, exercised and even used the restroom while listening.

I did sleep for 4 hours, but since my Kindle has a sleep timer on it, I only had to back up 23 minutes or so when I woke up. I know! I sound so pathetic! But this plot was very well written and the narrator did a heck of a job bringing this story to life so....

I regret nothing.

It DOES beg the questions, though: In such a situation, where there are no answers as to what can cause the world to physically flip flop to the extreme unknown, who can you trust? How does one survive when they are ill-prepared for such an extended and volatile event? Where do you draw the line of humanity when very decision means life or death?

I purchased this book outright.
I was not disappointed.

73 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • d cowan
  • 2017-10-05

Could have been 1/3 the length.

Nice writing. Good story- but could have been written in 1/3 the amount. This book did not contain 24 hours worth of story-more tedious detail than I prefer.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Kate 33
  • 2020-07-28

19 yr old has a 10 min medical class and

Spits out terms and remedies that she would have absolutely no exposure to. Presents herself as a doctor even though she keeps admitting that she really isn’t. Even cuts off some frostbitten toes! This story is so far-fetched it’s ridiculous. No 19-year-old would have the composer portrayed in the story. And her companion/older father love interest acts like she is just so much more than he is. There is a point where he says he wishes he could give her her teen years back, WTF? She’s already 19! This thing is so far off the charts.... I am sticking with zombies!

8 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-04-15

Spare yourself

I like science and the author is playing on the fact “the event” was caused by asteroids striking the earth which is fine but to use that as a premise as to why nothing electronic works is just an insult to my intelligence. Just a little research on the subject would bring you to the answer that while a EMP is generated by a “broad spectrum energy pulse with a frequency that interacts with electronic and/or magnetic systems...an asteroid impact pulse is almost purely mechanical energy...without some sort of method to combine then they will remain separate”.
The female lead is a 19 year old pre-med student who doesn’t understand what would cause electronic failure but somehow manages to know to eat insects and find a man that could be a father to be her best friend in the world whom she can’t live without bc he’s he “family” to whom she in the end realizes she loves only to sleep with him.
Everyone else they meet or encounter in less than a month onwards is either crazy, wants to prostitute women, or are cannibals. She somehow manages to murder easily bc it’s survival of the fittest or some bull crap like that. She goes from I want to go back to before the event to I don’t trust anyone but the guy I’m now obsessed with even though I also didn’t trust him in the beginning to I want to only starve/survive with him.
The narrator made the characters sound like whiners and I just wants to reach in and slap the life out of them.
I usually don’t dislike book or even write reviews but this is trash.

7 people found this helpful