Many thanks to NetGalley, Jonathan Janz, and Flame Tree Press for a chance to review this book. I was given this book for free in exchange for my fair and honest opinion. I have not felt compelled, in any way, by the author, the publisher, or NetGalley to alter my sincerest thoughts on this book. Every word of this review is solely and completely mine.
Anyone that follows the blog knows that I’m an ardent reader, to the point where I will eschew television, movies, or actual real-life chores just to bury my nose in a book. I wouldn’t say that my life is so boring that I need to live a different life every week, it’s more like four lives every week. I had never read anything Jonathan Janz so he was a brand new author to me. So when I checked out NetGalley and I saw the cover to this work, I was intrigued.
On the cover, it blatantly states that this book is a post-apocalyptic thriller by Janz “the modern master of horror and suspense.” I don’t believe that Janz wrote that little blurb himself, but I felt there was a really huge set of grapefruits advertising this work for someone I had never even heard of. Yet, I still wanted to check it out.
The post-apocalyptic world being constructed fascinated me. A virus had been unleashed by American geneticists in an attempt to prevent what appeared to be an imminent nuclear war. The road to ill is paved with good intentions, as we well know. The nuclear war is avoided, but the dark bits of humanity begin to disseminate through the population to the extent that otherwise fantastical, and fictional monsters are birthed in humanity. Vampires, werewolves, satyrs, and inhuman cannibals are among the diaspora of humanity that is now, depending on your point of view, less than/more than human.
With that bit of world building, he was off to the races. The main character named Dez, enters very quickly into a harrowing situation that he must try to extricate from and he does so while demonstrating the way things organically happen in this world. Most latents (normal people who have not yet developed a bestial ability) are thin, because they must hide and run with very little to eat. When someone is heavy-set or thick in some way, they must be bestial because only the bestial get to eat well, enjoy life, experience health.
Dez is looking for his woman, who was taken from him. It has been a while since her disappearance, so she may have been sold to vampires, and therefore no longer alive, but he feels compelled to find out. His travels take him to a bar that’s a converted church.
At the door, he is greeted by a seer that calls him the Raven and foreshadows what is to come. There are some really good action sequences, rife with extensive horror elements and tropes turned on their ear. If you like gore, this book doesn’t skimp on the gore. If you enjoy suspense, there is suspense that is organically built as opposed to being contrived out of thin air. The characters are strong and I’m sure we shall see them again. Janz didn’t take such care to build this world, not to use it again. I will read Janz again. High recommendation!