Offworld by Robin Parrish
As the book opens, Christopher Burke is lost on Mars, rapidly running out of oxygen, and frantically searching for his crew.
Eight months later, Chris and his crew are two months away from Earth when they lose contact with Ground Control; in fact, they are unable to pick up any communications from Earth. After crash-landing in Florida, they make a shocking discovery: all of humanity is gone. The planet is completely deserted…or almost.
While everything appears as if every living person simply…vanished…two months before, with food on the tables uneaten and cars abandoned on the roads, there is one exception. Satellite imagery shows a bright light shining into space from Houston, and the astronauts immediately head that way to find out what’s going on, only to run into one misfortune after another…and they quickly find that they are not, in fact, alone.
The first chapter of this book is fairly slow; the writing seems somewhat stilted and the author feels the need to define terms that any science fiction reader should know. It picks up quickly, though, and I found myself having trouble putting the book down. The ending is satisfying, if entirely predictable, and while not everything is spelled out, the astute reader should have no trouble filling in the blanks. This is pretty much the literary equivalent of an action movie; not particularly heavy or thought provoking, but a fun read.