A ways back I reviewed THE DEAD MAN: FACE OF EVIL by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin and loved it. Remember this review?? And this vacation allowed me to catch up with the next FOUR volumes in the series. Each one is a must for your bookshelf or E-Reader! I'm not kidding. These books WILL kick you in the ass and make you sit gingerly on the edge of your seat before punching you in the gut with awesome bursts of horror! And then...the AXE of the DEAD MAN strikes.
Hyperbole? Sure...but I really like these.
So, what did I read?
THE DEAD MAN 2: RING OF KNIVES (Hard Copy and Kindle) is one of my favorites so far, it hits hard with every word and never lets up. Number 2 is a tough thing in any series. While the first book is set up, and usually a bit more carefully laid out, the formula gets applied and creativity gets tested. I can be made to read any series for a first book, and if it is great then I'll be in for the second, but I apply a much higher standard...it needs to be better than the first book! And this one takes my only real complaint about #1 (the high McSpawn factor) and goes full tilt at it with fists flying and knives singing songs of blood n' guts.
James Daniels, you have a new fan here.
Ring of Knives has "that motherfucker that survived a gawdamm avalanche and then can see Mr. Dark and his pussy minions all around"(my quotes by the way)-Matt Cahill-catching a flat and hitching a ride in Incredible Hulk fashion. Well, it sucks to be Matt, this we know, but damn! He ends up in an Institution of Fleshy Dissolution completely by accident, but fate deals the cards and the Dead Man will play them through. He gets tortured, he battles evil. He kicks a ton of ass. There is horror. There is action. There is tension. I wet my pants. I...wait, I didn't wet my pants, thankfully I was on the toilet when I read the part that has Matt laying the boots to nuts on a cloddish foe.
"Namaste," he said, "you fuckhead."
Daniels does a great job reveling in the more horrific of the elements set up in Face of Evil with another possible Dead Man seeing a "pal" named Rotten Jack and the Mr. Dark stuff plays much stronger and is explained a bit more. I loved the way the tough guy Executioner meets the near Clive Barker level MEGAGIANT battle, yet even in the short running time it manages to build up some real dread with the looming appearance of the night shift and scraps of conversations being overheard. Spooky conversations. Scary conversations. AHHHHH...FUCKING WEIRD STUFF MAN!!
So, if you liked the first volume I bet this will walk you into the E-Store for more, and probably from now on. More reviews to come, and they just get more and more fun. I will say this, Ring of Knives is in my short list of favorite book 2s of all time now. The writer somehow missed the memo that THE AXE must always be present (and that gets fixed in all the other books), but with all the knives on show, you get plenty of Flashes of The Blade as Iron Maiden would say.
Next up...HELL IN HEAVEN!
Don't forget to visit THE DEAD MAN online!
The book also includes a passage from James Daniels GHOST BRIDE that hooked me in. The writers of these get fair plugs...new fans...and that makes me happy too!
As an aside, I want a TV show of this...right now. I can't help but picture The Genitorturers performing HIGHWAY TO HELL as the theme song. They haven't done that yet, but they did an AC/DC cover I enjoyed. Me, I'm thinking more this tone...