Day of Mourning

Author: Stephen Mertz
Publisher: Worldwide: Gold Eagle
Based on characters created by Don Pendleton
Published: February 1984
Book No: 62

Despite the cover image I have posted above, the Australian editions of Day of Morning (and Dead Man Running) did not feature the red foil stamping on the name Mack Bolan – and as such simply appeared as just another in the long running Executioner series. In fact, the two Executioner books, Day of Mourning and Dead Man Running, plus the Mack Bolan book Terminal Velocity formed a trilogy, which shook up the Bolan universe – and helped ditch the Colonel John Phoenix persona that Bolan had adopted since The New War.

If that doesn’t make sense to you, let me do my clumsy best to try to explain. Let’s start at the beginning. First there was The Executioner series written by Don Pendleton and that incarnation of Bolan operated outside the law, and for thirty-eight books his enemy were the Mafia. However, from book 39 in the series – The New War – after Pendleton sold the rights to his creation, Bolan had been awarded a Presidential pardon, given plastic surgery, and rechristened ‘John Phoenix’. Bolan/Phoenix operates as a soldier against terrorism, codenamed Striker or sometimes Stony Man – as his counter-terrorism team operates out of a disguised farmhouse HQ in the Stony Man mountains.

So, you got that? Mack Bolan is John Phoenix and he fights terrorists. Good. Next thing you’ve got to understand is, when World Wide / Gold Eagle took over The Executioner series, they expanded the Bolan universe. Put simply; more books. Not only was there The Executioner series – where The Day of Mourning and Dead Man Running books come from, but there was also a Mack Bolan series, and this dear reader is where Terminal Velocity comes in. It is not a part of The Executioner series, but dovetails between the two stories. I have not tracked down a copy of Terminal Velocity yet, but I feel I know what happens due to the references to it in other stories. (At the time of writing, there seems to be only one copy available on eBay and postage is a killer). But I digress.

The thing is, the three books in the trilogy presented a key episode, or series of episodes in the Bolan timeline – and this was highlighted to readers through the use of red foil stamped on the covers. But as I said at the top, Australian editions did have the foil, and the books looked the same as others in the series. Not that that would have bothered devoted readers, but the ‘every-now-and-again’ readers wouldn’t know Arthur from Martha, and would make their purchase based on the cover image.

And let’s face it, the cover art for Day of Mourning (while it very much reflects the story), doesn’t promise ridiculously large amounts of gun play. Also, and I haven’t started outlining the plot yet, but the cover is really one giant ‘spoiler’. I mean it features Mack Bolan cradling a dead woman in his arms. How do you think the story ends?

Now these aren’t criticisms. Just some simple observations, after all, you should never judge a book by its cover.

The story starts with Mack Bolan and Jack Grimaldi in a Harrier jet over the Atlantic Ocean. Hovering above the water, Bolan, clad in special deep sea scuba gear, steps off and dives into the ocean below. Apparently they ship has gone down carrying a nuclear device. Already down below, a team of mercenaries is trying to retrieve the device. Immediately Bolan is thrust into an underwater speargun fight. This is not new territory for Mack Bolan. However, the fact that communications with the Stony Man Farm HQ have broken down, has him concerned.

After the mission, upon his return to Stony Man HQ with Grimaldi, it is revealed that the centre had been attacked and communications knocked out. Bolan’s years of experience suggest that this was just a ‘soft probe’ to test the centre’s defences, as well as creating an amount of havoc. Bolan suspects that the real assault is yet to come.

With very little information to go on, Bolan hits the streets of Washington D.C. in an attempt to shake free some information on those who were behind the attack. It’s only that Bolan ‘shakes’ a bit more vigorously than most, and it’s not long until the corpses start stacking up.

I am, of course, being deliberately vague and simple in my descriptions here. There is more to the story than just a simple shoot ’em up, and the novel has some political plot threads that play through the story (and are resolved in Dead Man Running).

Despite being the opening book in a trilogy, it still can be read as a standalone piece – however, I would suggest at the end, most readers would be eagre to find out what happens next – and find out who the Mr. Bigs are.

By now, regular visitors to this site, don’t need me saying that The Executioner books are fast-paced, blood and guts thrillers, that aren’t great literature, but are thoroughly entertaining in their way. And there, I’ve said it again. But as one of the core books in the series, I guess Day of Mourning is one of the series flagships, and if you are in any way a fan of Mack Bolan it is essential reading.

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Day of Mourning

Mack Bolan: Killpoint

Author: Mel Odom
Publisher: Gold Eagle
Published: 1995
Based on characters created by Don Pendleton

In the real world, eleven years had passed since the events told about in Stephen Mertz’s A Day of Mourning and Dead Man Running occurred – they were first published in 1984. And although I still haven’t read A Day of Mourning (which I’ll rectify soon – as I write I have a copy winging its way to me from Western Australia), I know that Mack Bolan’s Soviet protagonist in that story was Greb Strakhov. Strakhov was killed by Bolan, but all those eleven years later, in post-Soviet Russia, Strakhov’s influence can still be felt, when one of his underlings, Kharald Shevchenko re-activates a network of sleeper agents around the world.

But as you’d expect, many of these agents who have been in place for over a decade, and after the fall of Communism, have set up new lives with families. They have no desire to sacrifice themselves for a cause that no longer exists. However, this failure to comply is met with swift retribution.

One sleeper agent, Petyr Voroshilov, fearing for his life, and the life of his son, contacts Stony Man HQ, and asks to be brought in – offering a wealth of information in the bargain. A pick up is arranged, and Mack Bolan – the Executioner – is the man assigned to bring him in. And as Shevchenko’s men attempt to stop Voroshilov’s defection, Bolan and fellow Stony Man operative Leo Turrin are engaged in an action-packed running battle. The first one-hundred pages of this book are a breathless thrill ride that doesn’t let up. It is so good in fact, it almost over shadows the other action set-pieces in the book. Don’t get me wrong, the other passages are very good too, particularly a helicopter raid on a freighter carrying nuclear material, and the climactic battle above and below the East China Sea, but they aren’t given the full reign that the opening has.

The villain of the piece, Kharald Shevchenko, after four years of capitalism, wishes for Russia to return to the old days of communism, and to that end he teams up with renegade Red Chinese General Hua to achieve his goal. From the get-go, Bolan and Stony Man (characters from Able Team and Phoenix Force make cameo appearances in this story) are on the back foot, trying to work out what the hell is going on around the globe. Only as tiny scraps of intel come in, do the pieces slowly begin to fit together.

On of the great things about this book is its high-tech approach to intelligence gathering, and its application throughout the mission. I have talked about this before, in relation to films, how spy stories used to be structured with a mission briefing at the beginning, and then the agent is sent off to save the world in an autonomous fashion. But the world has changed. Communication has changed. As a clumsy example, throw one mobile phone into the beginning of Dr. No and you have a whole new story! Routine radio transmissions at a set time? What nonsense is that? Killpoint embraces modern technology and author Mel Odom beautifully balances the operations out in the field and the back at Stony Man base, with wheelchair bound, Aaron Kurtzman (the tech wizard), actively involved in the field operations, almost as if he was standing right beside Bolan.

On numerous occasions, when I have looked at Mack Bolan or Nick Carter books, I have said ‘they are what they are’, which is simple, fast-paced, formulaic and with a body count. And they generally deliver on that level, but not much else. In fact, if you took one of the stories, and used the ‘find/change’ function to change Mack Bolan’s named to Bill Smith; even with the new name, the stories would still read pretty much as Mack Bolan adventures. I hope that makes sense. What I am trying to imply is that the template used for these stories is very identifiable and doesn’t vary too much. However, with Killpoint, the ‘find/change’ test would produce something different. With different character names, Killpoint would be a damn fine stand-alone spy story. However, the fact that Odom has managed to keep the story well grounded in Bolan/The Executioner lore means he has achieved an incredible balancing act. The story works in both worlds, as spy fiction and as a Mack Bolan novel.

I think I have expressed how much I enjoyed this novel, and a part of that pleasure comes from the fact that I didn’t expect a lot. Obviously I enjoy the Bolan adventures, but I am well aware of their limitations. But on this occasion, my pre-conceived expectations were knocked out of the ball park. Killpoint is a fine story.

Mack Bolan: Killpoint

Mack Bolan: Dead Man Running

Dead Man RunningAuthor: Stephen Mertz
Publisher: Worldwide: Gold Eagle
Based on characters created by Don Pendleton
Published: April 1984
Book No: 64

One of the things that separates the Mack Bolan – Executioner series from the Nick Carter series is the back story running through the novels. Nick Carter’s adventures are nearly exclusively self-contained, and while the Executioner novels can be read as stand alone stories, it helps to have a vague idea of where the story is at. In this particular instance, having read Book No 62 – Day of Mourning, also by Stephen Mertz is a great boon, as this story follows directly on from it – with Bolan tidying up loose ends from that story – literally cleaning house.

Incidentally, for those who are curious, and have noticed that the story has skipped from Book No. 62 to Book No. 64, the 63rd in the series, is The New War Book – which flashes back to Vietnam and examines Bolan’s war against America’s enemies.

I have not read Day of Mourning, but it would appear that a team of mercenaries have attacked the Stony Man Farm complex – Bolan’s HQ – and killed many of the staff, including the love of Bolan’s life, April Rose.

So Mack Bolan spends the length of the novel seeking vengeance, and that has him rampaging around Washington tracking down those responsible, and delivering his own kind of justice. It’s also fair to say in this book, that Bolan – and I’ll keep calling him Bolan rather than John Phoenix, for reasons I’ll explain a bit further down – has gone rogue. He’s off the range, tearing around, doing things his way without backup or government sanction behind him. And this is good. It gives the novel a gritty feel.

Dead Man Running also starts a new chapter in Bolan’s ‘war everlasting’. Rather than just seeking out ‘generic’ terrorists, he now choose to focus solely on wiping out the dreaded KGB, and in this story he takes on a corrupt Soviet official stationed in Washington. But the book doesn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Author, Stephen Mertz knows what has made the character of Bolan popular – so he has the KGB official in cahoots with the local mob. So no only is the KGB after Bolan, but a swag of swarthy Mafia hitmen.

When Bolan starts taking out the mob in his inimitable way, people with long memories start to question if Phoenix is in fact Mack Bolan – The Executioner. Of course, the reading public know the answer to this question, but by the end of the novel (and this is a minor spoiler – but I am talking about a book written 25 years ago – in a series that continues to this day – so I don’t think my revelation is going to shock the world) – Bolan tosses aside his Phoenix persona. He is now just Mack Bolan.

Dead Man Running is everything a Mack Bolan Executioner book should be. It’s fast paced, brutal and entertaining, but at the core a story the reader is interested in seeing resolved. There is also for the committed fans of the series, a healthy dose of Bolan lore – and while I’d stop short of saying that this is one of the key books from this era of The Executioner – because Bolan returns to the Stony Man fold, but it presents a good deviation from the formula – for a short while anyway.

From the back:

Mack is back with a vengeance!

Mack Bolan returns from Russia to find the CIA has lifted its liquidation mandate. He is granted a stay of execution – for twelve hours.

But no one can stay The Executioner’s hand as he sets out on his mission of revenge in Washington. His target: a KGB mole responsible for the attack on Bolan’s base and the death of his greatest love, April Rose.

Not only has the Soviet spy penetrated the inner circle of the U.S. President, but Bolan finds Moscow’s Department of Terror in bed with his oldest enemy – the American Mafia.

The Stony warrior rains a hellstorm of death on the midnight streets of D.C., ending in a stunning climax at the oval office.

The Executioner is in the city of lies. And he has come to spill blood – drop by treacherous drop.

The Executioner books aren’t high-end literature by any stretch of the imagination, so any suggestion that this is a fine book, obviously lives within the parameters of The Executioner series and this style of genre fiction, but for my money (and you can pick these up pretty cheap these days), Dead Man Running was a punchy little thrill-ride.

Mack Bolan: Dead Man Running

Mack Bolan: Paramilitary Plot

Mack Bolan: Paramilitary PlotAuthor: Mike Newton
Based on characters created by Don Pendleton
Publisher: Worldwide: Gold Eagle
Published: 1982
Book Number: 45
Pictured: Australian paperback edition 1984

Paramilitary Plot marks the first occasion that legendary pulp fiction character, Mack Bolan – The Executioner, has graced the pages of Permission to Kill. Needless to say it wont be his last. However, Mack Bolan’s early adventures, written by Don Pendleton were not particularly espionage based. That Mack Bolan operated outside the law, and his enemy were the Mafia. However, from book 39 in the series – The New War – after Pendleton sold the rights to his creation, Bolan was different, and I guess, depending on your definition of spy fiction – mine is very loose – that’s where The Executioner stories move into a counter-terrorist, espionage realm, and become worthy of examination of these pages.

In these stories, Bolan has been awarded a Presidential pardon, given plastic surgery, and rechristened ‘John Phoenix’. Bolan/Phoenix is a counter-terrorism operative codenamed Stony Man. Here’s an overview of the Bolan we are dealing with here; from pages 15-16:

When Mack Bolan retired from his private war against the Mafia, he did so with a purpose. The thought of rest and relaxation, so alluring to a battle-weary warrior, never seriously crossed his mind. Instead he resigned his role in one conflict to join another – a new war, against a threat more insidious than any offered by the mob.

Terror was a chief target in Bolan’s newest phase of war everlasting. In a world divided on the lines of race, ideology, religion, the firebrands and fanatics found fertile breeding ground. For too many years, small bands of savages, often acting without coherent thought or guiding policy, had held the world at bay. Free nations often seemed powerless to stem the violent tide.

Time for Mack Bolan.

Or rather, time for ‘John Phoenix’, a full colonel in America’s sub rosa war against the terrorists.

The Bolan identity had for all intents and purposes been shed in the final hours of his ‘last mile’ against the Mafia. As a fugitive and public figure, the Executioner was ‘dead’.

Also by this time Mack Bolan, and the Bolan universe was on the verge of breaking out into other pulp fiction series. First their was Mack Bolan’s Able Team – this book promotes the first entitled Tower of Terror. Then their was Mack Bolan’s Phoenix Force – the first title being Argentine Deadline. There were also the Stony Man series and the Super Bolans and War Books.  So I think that it’s fair to say that Bolan and his hard hitting companions were (and still are) a marketing juggernaut, with over six-hundred books in the market place.

Paramilitary Plot begins with Bolan being briefed about his next assignment, which will take him to the Everglades. A biochemist, working for a company named Warco has gone missing – or so his daughter, Holly Bruce, suspects. However, when she enquires about his whereabouts, Warco insist that he is merely on leave. She doesn’t believe them and contacts the department of justice. They send a man out, who later turns up in Florida, dead – his skin blackened – from a virulent disease, much like the dreaded Bubonic Plague.

Bolan is assigned to follow up the investigation, and immediately is thrown into the action when he finds a paramilitary compound set up deep within the Everglades. This compound is under the control of Colonel Charles Rosky, and old seasoned campaign soldier, who now works as a mercenary – for hire to the the highest bidder. The man paying the bills is Thurston Ward, the head of Warco, and also a man with ties to the Mafia. He also has a mad scheme to take over the island of Grenada, using Professor Bruce’s research, and making himself the sole, omnipotent ruler.

Of course, Mack Bolan has other ideas – which involves a lot of shooting and explosions.

There were a few of things that irked me about this novel. Firstly was the filler in between action scenes – and unfortunately it was the same filler chapter after chapter – that being the repetition of Mack Bolan / John Phoenix manifesto which outlines his ‘everlasting war’ or ‘war everlasting’ against terrorism. That’s all good and well, because it is nice to know what drives and motivates the characters in a story. But after you’ve read it four or five times, it wears a bit thin.

The second irksome story trait was the use of the word ‘yeah’. I have no problem with ‘yeah’ used as dialogue, but in this novel it is used to reaffirm Mack Bolan’s actions. So there are passages like (p. 157):  … Laying charges, yeah, making ready to blow their bridges behind them as they left. I guess it gives the story a comfortable immediacy, like some old guy telling relating an action packed tale in a pub – but once again, after twenty or so ‘yeah’s, it had worn out its welcome.

And my final gripe – and before I go any further, if you are offended by foul language, I’d skip ahead two paragraphs, because my my problem is with the swearing in this book – which is hard to discuss without swearing. Now am not prudish when it comes to swearing. I have a mouth like a sewer, and Australians have a reputation for swearing more than practically any other country. Apparently there is a language usage dictionary that credits an Australian in war time with the most varied usage of the same swear word in one sentence. That being a young Aussie soldier explaining to his senior officer that his jeep won’t start. His words were, ‘The fucking fuck won’t fucking fuck, sir!’ Feel free to correct me, but  I believe there’s an adjective, a noun, an adverb and a verb in that simple statement. Australian English at its very best!

So I like swearing, and am not offended to read it or hear it. If it’s in the dialogue, great. But, I don’t believe it is an effective literary device for describing an action scene. Once again, this is not dialogue, but the description in a passage of action. So when Mack Bolan blows up the enemies airboats, the description reads (p. 120): … All four of those fucking boats went to hell at the same time, in one huge mushroom of explosive flame.

Have the characters swear their heads off when all hell breaks loose, but swearing in the descriptions actually does nothing to create atmosphere or heighten the tension. Once again, it is like the story is being narrated by some fellow sitting in the corner of a bar. I almost wonder, if the story was narrated into a cassette recorder, and somebody later typed it up into book format (I think I once read that Peter Cheyney used to do that).

This are minor gripes to be sure, but when added up, it results in a pretty poor book that plods in sections and lacks tension. At the end of the day, I am a guy who likes to read lurid pulp fiction spy novels – and as such I will cut them more slack than most people. So if I am disappointed, then I guess it’s fair to say, that this novel is crap. I realise the Bolan books were written quickly to meet short deadlines, and there is a rough and tough formula to adhere to. At the back of The Executioner No. 60 – Sold for Slaughter, there’s a brief overview of author Mike Newton and it suggests that he had forty-four books published in seven years (I am sure they were not all Mack Bolan) – and maybe therein lies the problem with this book. Pumping out five books a year is a big ask for any author – even the most prolific writer – and this book just seems stale and lazy.

From the back:

Warning: Black Death!

The disappearance of a leading U.S. biochemist was handled routinely by the Department of Justice… until their agent on the case was found dead in Florida, his body ravaged by a plague bacillus.

Enter Mack Bolan. The murky world of the Everglades was ominous enough without the unknown variables – a strange secret fortress, the bio-chemist’s strong-willed daughter, and a mad billionaire’s private army bent on territorial expansion way beyond the confines of the Sunshine State.

The Executioner’s search-and-rescue suddenly became a blistering search-and-destroy. In this lush steaming swampland, the man in black would spare no quarter to bring a defenseless world back into balance.

Picking on a Mack Bolan story is fairly pointless. The books are short and sweet and the cover art fully discloses the type of story contained in the pages. If people running around with guns, and airboats blowing up – as depicted on this particular cover – doesn’t appeal to you pictorially, then let me assure you, then literarily this book too will have little to offer. And even if the story isn’t quite up to par, well at least it is fast paced, and can be finished quickly, allowing the reader to move on to the next in the series.

Mack Bolan: Paramilitary Plot

The Dead Man: Face of Evil

Authors: Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin
Publisher: Adventures in Television
Published: February 2011
Book No: 1

This novella is not a spy story, but the story has its roots in the ‘Men of Action’ stories that were popular in the ’70s and ’80s – and many of them were spy stories. But first, I want to talk to you about ‘Dirty Harry’. When I was growing up I was a big fan of Dirty Harry. In fact I discovered Harry twice. The first time was when I was a young teenager, then later as an old teenager.

The first instance was before video really took off in Australia. Back in the early 1980’s television censorship Down Under was very severe. We had what they called AO MOD TV movies – standing for Adults Only Modified for Television. Well the censors worked overtime on Dirty Harry, cutting out whole scenes and great chunks on dialogue. It is a testament to the strength of the movie that despite the removal of the violence and swearing, it was still a bloody good film. The cuts obviously diluted Dirty Harry from how it was originally intended to be seen, but in others ways opened up the film to a new youthful audience.

Four or five years later and I finally got to see an uncut version of Dirty Harry, and if you’ll forgive the Harryesque wordplay, I was blown away. But between that time I actually encountered Harry again. Not the filmic Harry as portrayed by Clint Eastwood, but the ‘Men of Action’ book series written by Dane Hartman (I think my first was one of the latter ones in the series Dealer of Death). I bring up the fact that my first filmic encounter with Harry was cut, because the books were extremely graphic, which delighted me no end. I do believe they were the series that taught me the word ‘viscera’. With the hindsight of twenty-five plus years, I realise the Dirty Harry series was trash…but I enjoyed it so. They were my ‘Men of Action’ series…the one I latched onto.

The thing is, if you grew up in that era, without all the video games, computer, ipods etc., then most likely to escape you read, and adolescent males read ‘Men of Action’ books. And there were heaps of them to chose from, Mack Bolan as The Executioner, Remo Williams as The Destroyer, The Black Samurai, The Specialist, The Hunter, The Penetrator and many many others. I am sure many of you have your favourite. You could always tell a ‘Men of Action’ book by the number on the cover – they were always numbered, hoping you’d keep along with the series.

Men of Action
‘Men of Action’ books

The old ‘Men of Action’ books are all but extinct now – of course you can find them in second hand shops, but possibly younger generations have replaced them with video games, which provide them with more immediately thrills. I for one, kind of miss them. But it seems that I am not alone. Thankfully, a group of talented authors are coming together in a project aimed at reviving the spirit of the ‘Men of Action’ books in a new e-book series. The series is called The Dead Man, and the first book is Face of Evil written by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin. But this new series isn’t just retreading old ground, or presenting more of the same. The story tellers have added a paranormal, horror element into the mix. So Face of Evil presents a story in a style that you may be familiar with, but mixed with some other elements to bring the reader something new.

However, here’s my first little gib, and I know it’s an e-book, but in keeping with the ‘Men of Action’ ethos, it should have a big No. 1 on the cover to signify that it is the first in the series. Oh, and a guy with a gun… and maybe a girl in bikini. They don’t need to be in the story… heaven knows most of the old series promised more with their cover artwork than we actually got!

I know I am being superficial, but hey, I’m a traditionalist! The story concerns Matthew Cahill, who has been a widower for many years, and works in a saw mill. After many years on his own, Cahill looks like he is about to enter into a new relationship with a co-worker named Rachel. But this budding relationship is cut short, when one afternoon as they are skiing, an avalanche takes Cahill’s life. Or does it? After three months of being buried in the snow, his body is found and taken to the morgue. But as the coroner attempts to perform his autopsy he notices a very strange thing. As he cuts into the corpse, he notices that it is bleeding. Dead men don’t bleed.

So how does Matthew Cahill stand up as a ‘Men of Action’ hero? I think the jury still has to be out on that. Cahill has the potential to be a fascinating and thoroughly entertaining hero. He is in this story. But Face of Evil is somewhat of a ‘Beginnings’ story, which charts how Cahill becomes ‘The Dead Man’ and suggests the path that he is going to take. And I must admit I am eager to see where this path leads. So is he a great ‘Men of Action’ hero? He could be. Time will tell.

If there is a weakness to the story, it was in the horror aspects to the story. By nature I am squeamish kind of fellow, but the horror elements here didn’t have me chewing my nails, or have my heart racing. However, the thriller, and comedy – very dark comedy I will add – is first rate. I found myself laughing out loud on a few occasions (which is always embarrassing when you’re on a train).

Here’s the spiel about The Dead Man series:

Matthew Cahill is an ordinary man leading a simple life…until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld of unspeakable evil and horrific violence that nobody else does…

For Cahill, each day is a journey into a dark world he knows nothing about…a quest for the answers to who he is and what he has become…and a fight to save us, and his soul, from the clutches of pure evil.

FACE OF EVIL, the first book in the series, was written by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin and will be released on February 20th, to be followed in coming months by more all-new adventures of THE DEAD MAN by some of the most talented and successful mystery, western, horror and scifi authors out there today, including Bill CriderJames Reasoner, Matt Witten, Joel Goldman, James Daniels, Burl Barer and David McAfee.

Face of Evil
Faux Cover - 'Face of Evil' as a retro style 'Men of Action' book

Please forgive the clumsy faux cover art (right) I have created for Face of Evil. The simple fact is I was just having a bit of fun. So too, I think that the authors who have come together for The Dead Man project are having a bit of fun (although on the strength of Face of Evil, I would suggest their story telling ability is stronger than my artistic aspirations). The enjoyment, most evident in the in-jokes, is palpable when reading the story. Of course, I cannot know exactly what the authors were thinking when they wrote this story, but a part of me expects that it may not have seemed like work at all. The story races by at a brisk rate of knots, each twist and turn, and shift in time providing another revelation as the story moves towards its… well, I was going to say ‘end’, but that really is misleading. For now I will say ‘close’, but sure to be picked up in book two.

Face of Evil is only a novella, around 80 pages, which creates its own little duel edged sword. In many ways, I was happy that it was short, as the twists had me eager to know whats happens next. Therefore, I could finish the book in one sitting, rather than pressing on into the wee small hours and turning up to work bleary eyed the next morning. On the flip slide, I was enjoying it so much, I didn’t want it to end so abruptly. I guess I have to wait for the next installment in The Dead Man series.

The Dead Man: Face of Evil