So it starts with a thunderstorm, [like another book] I'm reviewing by McKiernan. And even though it takes place in futuristic America, it has a very distinct style: Lightning jagged across the ebony sky, thunder crashing after. Ah, florid prose, where would I be without thee? It can't just be the night sky, it has to be an "ebony" sky. And no, I don't know if "jagged" works as a verb.
So we're introduced to our protagonist, Alice Maxon. She's being driven through Arizona by somebody in the middle of the night, during a rainstorm. Yeah, I dunno why she's driving instead of holing up in a motel somewhere.