Sharing a review
April 6, 2019
A wonderful review on Small Press Picks!
Here's an excerpt, or read the whole thing here.
...From here, the novel takes readers on an entertaining, genre-bending ride. The hunt for Dreama, whose disappearance seems to be the novel's central mystery, brings surprising revelations that complicate the story of the Kavanaughs. Layered onto this is a tale of ecological sleuthing, in which a local reporter, with help from Lourana, discovers why the river that runs through Redbird has become so polluted with sulfuric acid that it can break down the metal of bridges and piers and burn the flesh off any people who have the misfortune of falling into the water. As the reporter and Lourana discover, the pollution was no accident...
The novel also has elements of a western, culminating in a tense, OK Corral-style showdown between Darrick and the most threatening member of the Kavanaugh family, whose powers have come to exceed Darrick's. (As an aside, the scene of the showdown, the Kavanaugh mansion and crypt, might be the set of a horror film. Nieman makes masterful use of this setting, showing how it helps fuel the villain's powers, and the fears of his prey.)
On a lighter note, Darrick unwittingly kicks off a local zombie legend, of which he is the star. The legend begins when some locals spot Darrick after he first emerges from the bone pit, bloodied and sullied from human remains...
Instead of feeling like disparate parts, all these genre elements fit together seamlessly, and they build upon one another in satisfying ways.
Finally, like Stephen King's masterpiece The Dead Zone, Nieman's novel insightfully portrays the complications of possessing unexpected powers, which rarely are unmitigated blessings. As Nieman and King make clear, these powers can force uncomfortable dilemmas and decisions on those who harbor them, and as Darrick discovers, they can be as likely to bring negative consequences as good ones.