Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review: DEAD MAN #2 Ring of Knives by James Daniels

The Dead Man isn't your typical serial vigilante. He's not a former Marine, an ex-Special Forces sniper, CIA freelance operative, martial arts expert, grieving liberal accountant, disgruntled cop, or any of the usual former professions for the average protagonist in the men's vigilante adventure sub-genre. Matthew Cahill was just a lumberman working in a sawmill, until one fateful day something horrible and unexpected happened that forever changed him. Now Matt wanders alone, searching for the mystery of what happened to him, and the origin and motives behind the mysterious Mr. Dark.

Lee Goldberg was kind enough to send me a review copy of DEAD MAN #2, Ring of Knives just before I went on vacation for the weekend, and as I was planning on bringing my iPad with me anyhow, I read RoK on the bus down to NYC. It was definitely a page-turner; I read the whole installment in little more than an hour. The action and suspense came fast and furious, and when I reached the end, I was immediately disappointed that I'd have to wait (im)patiently for the next tale of the Dean Man to come along.

Now that the origin story in issue #1, Face of Evil is out of the way, Ring of Knives gives us a glimpse into what this series could really look like, and the prospects are fantastic. This is a creepy, violent, action-packed tale of suspense and supernatural horror. This isn't just weird, it's a glimpse into a dark, bizarre, and twisted world, one that the average person is completely unaware of...until the screaming begins. And then it's too late. If you loved the glimpses into the world of the strange and unusual given by such shows as The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, X-Files, and Fringe, you're going to love DEAD MAN.

After having read the first two installments of DEAD MAN, I feel I can say with some confidence that this is the future of serial adventure fiction; short, snappy page-flippers that provide a solid hour (or two, or three) of exciting literary entertainment delivered right to you instantly through the Internet. As long as prices continue to stay low and quality continues to remain high, I see the DEAD MAN series having a long and successful publication run, the pioneer for what is sure to be many more serials to come. This is going to become, in more ways than one, a return to the era of the classic serial pulps, and I for one couldn't be happier.

When it happens, I'll be the first in line every time.


Anonymous said...

Very cool, this is exactly what I am trying to do with my own series. I think you are right about short, edible, but hard hitting pieces of fiction being the future with this new paradigm of ebook readers. By the way, I live about 45 minutes outside NYC. Next time you are in the area hit me up and we can grab a beer or twenty.

Jack Badelaire said...

Good to know. I figured you were more upstate - next time I'll hit you up. I'm probably going to be down there mid-summer for a few days.

And yeah, your PROMIS series is spot on for this trend. I still owe you a review - mea culpa.

Anonymous said...

When we meet I'll have to big dudes with me, wearing baller caps, suspenders, and carrying monkey wrenches! Its okay, I'm backlogged as well and owe some people reviews as well.

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