A Drop of Moonshine ~ Holly Day
In a world where the government controls everything, and every citizen is given one government-approved kill, Sid Barker is doing his best to keep his head down and not get noticed. At some point, he must have failed. Being a potato farmer doesn't generate enough income, and Sid is making moonshine on the side to keep himself fed, but one day a liquidation agent shows up at his farm, not to kill him, but to blackmail him into giving away his moonshine for free.
Thorn Hull is a liquidation agent. Every time someone hands in an application to have someone terminated, he or one of the other agents has to perform the kill. It's a well-paying job, but no money in the world can fill the void in Thorn. He regrets ever becoming an agent, but no one has ever quit the agency and lived to tell the tale.
One night in a bar, Thorn runs into Sid, who's far from the dirty little kid he'd been the last time Thorn had seen him. Sid remembers Thorn from his childhood and asks him to help him talk sense into the agent who's blackmailing him. Things soon escalate, and Sid and Thorn find themselves on the run from the liquidation agency. How will they be able to deal with the blackmailer at the same time as they're on the run from the government's trained killers?
Holly Day's A Drop of Moonshine was written to celebrate National Moonshine Day which falls in the US on 5 June. A Drop of Moonshine is one of her darker novellas written to celebrate national and international 'days of', but despite it being more on the dark side, I was completely hooked, and I experienced the same problem I have with every one of Holly's books; I wanted more!
The world of A Drop of Moonshine is not a nice place to live. It isn't clear whether this is a dystopian Earth or an alternate reality, but either way, it's a world fraught with danger, where only the daring survive, and death is around every corner. While on the surface, the one legal kill per person may seem a way to prevent 'illegal' murder; in practice, it means that any time your life can be forfeit (or any or no reason) or that you can return home at any time to find someone you love simply gone. The one-kill law isn’t the only thing wrong, though. The people are oppressed and severely limited. To have money gives you a certain level of comfort, but not freedom.
These dire circumstances result in an intricate web of deceit and danger. Ultimately Sidney is placed in a precarious position of submitting to blackmail and handing over his moonshine, and try to survive in even more dire conditions, or put his trust in Thorn, a government-ordained assassin, who is determined to keep Sidney alive.
The result is a story that will tug on your heartstrings on every page but ultimately gives you hope that even in the worst circumstances, there will always be people who are there for you, no matter the cost. The story is an emotional roller coaster, and at one point, I really didn’t like Sidney; I understood his motives and mindset at the time, but I still didn't like him, and I don't think he really grovelled enough! Even so, he and Thorn were well paired and good for each other.
A Drop of Moonshine is another Holly Day hit that will grab you from the first page and not let go. Despite the story being on the darker side and having some emotionally intense moments, the ending is beautiful and full of hope for a better future.
A Drop of Moonshine is available as an ebook.