Book Review: Dead Man – Ring of Knives by James Daniels

There is a saying in the music industry that the second album is the hardest. You are backing up your first work in the series and the pressure is on to not just come up with new material but to create something better. But what do you do with the band that changes its entire lineup and releases a new album? Well normally you would avoid it like a “Guns ‘n’ Roses”* Chinese Democracy album.

James Daniels has had the unenviable task of taking on the second installment of the Dead Man series of novellas started by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin. Now James has taken an interesting tact with the second novel: he has tried to outdo Lee and William and succeeded. Given the high standard set in the first novella, Face of Evil, this is no mean feat.

When we left Matt Cahill he was starting his trek to discover why he made an amazing recovery from his mild case of death and why he can now see evil as other’s souls are eaten away by it. Seeking answers he is trying to speak with another who has been similarly afflicted. What better setting for a horror novel than a psychiatric hospital!? This book expands upon how Matt’s story and hints at Mr Dark. But Mr Dark isn’t who Matt has to be worried about in this book.

So James has done this series proud and has created a thrilling, suspenseful read. I really enjoyed this sequel and I pity the poor writer following on from James. They don’t have to just be as good or better than the first, now they have to top this one as well.

*It hasn’t been Guns ‘n’ Roses since Slash left.

Book review: Dead Man’s Eye – Shaun Jeffrey

This little beauty has been at the top of my Kindle list for a long while now. Much like Steven L Hawk’s book, I stumbled across this via the book cover under a post on the Kindle Boards. Score another one for forums and great book covers!

Now according to Goodreads I’ve been reading this one for a long time. In reality though I’ve been reading this at lunch times when not Beta reading other novels (actually I think this is more novella length). So the fact that this book has kept me interested with my short spurts of reading for the first 50% shows that it is well written. I decided today that I couldn’t wait for another work week to finish it; I did so and enjoyed every moment.

Shaun has done a great job with this book. The premise is set up quickly and smoothly, the characters are well done, the plot flows nicely, and despite treading an oft trod storyline the book manages to remain fresh and interesting. I should add something about paranormal thrillers and the like, but the back cover synopsis really says it all.

I couldn’t finish this post without saying a little about a debate that seems to have erupted on the interwebz regarding the quality of indie vs. traditionally published books. Having just finished this book and Beta read Steven and Rex’s work I feel the need to make a comment.

Why is it that traditional publisher’s advocate themselves as some bastion of quality publishing? For some reason traditional publishing is claiming that it has been discerning the wheat from the chaff for all time, making sure that grammar and spelling mistakes don’t exist, that only good stories make it to the consumer.

Of course they do such a good job of this. I agree completely.

I mean JK Rowling was rejected by a dozen publishers, Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 was rejected because no-one could tell if he was being satirical or funny, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected by 20 publishers, Stephen King’s thumbtack holding up his rejection notices had to be replaced with a nail, and Rudyard Kipling was told he didn’t know how to use the English language. Great job! Check this and this for more.

I think that these guys are all great examples of people who deserved to be rejected. There is no way that any author could possibly produce a good book that would be rejected. There is no way that any author could produce a book that won’t be filled with spelling and grammatical errors without a publisher. Just wouldn’t happen.

Indie and self-published author’s like Shaun Jeffrey and Steven L Hawk are great examples of author’s who clearly take pride in their work. They have editors and put out professional publications. There is no magic that publishing houses bring to the table. Can we acknowledge that self-publishing is just as legitimate as traditional publishing. Hocking el al. have proved that, lets move on.

Book Reviews – The Dead Man: Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin

Before this review, in the interest of full disclosure, I should state that I have known Lee since last week when he sent me a pre-release of this book. We go way back. Now onto the review.

This was another book that I read during my lunch break. Please don’t tell my boss, as I read more of this on the first day than my lunch break technically allowed – of course I still have enough overtime to miss a week of work so I don’t feel so bad. Needless to say this book is far too engrossing for its own good. I highly recommend reading it when you have more than a half hour lunch break.

Lee and Will are the first in a team of 8 to write this Dead Man series. Face of Evil can be regarded as a stand-alone novella, but it does set things up nicely for more to come. This is primarily a thriller with aspects of horror, with a generous smattering of the paranormal. I’m not really a horror fan, I don’t really need those details, but here it isn’t overriding and the paranormal/horror aspects add nicely to the tension. The release date is February 20th, which is today for me, tomorrow for Americans (yes I’m coming to you from the future), so keep an eye open for this one.

I can’t wait for the rest of this series.