The heart of the city is being gutted by a ritualistic serial killer and the police have hit a wall. Dirk, a private detective, is thrust into the maniac’s world by a mother’s desperate plea. A tragic mistake leads the killer toward his next victim: a girl with ties to the investigation. Now Dirk and his quirky team of problem solvers must race against the clock to find the killer before the next victim is claimed.
A private investigator, his friend, a cop, and a specter named Victor are all that stand in the way of a madman and his next victim.
The Dramatic Dead is as entertaining as author Bryan Nowak's debut novel (No Name) however I was initially disappointed that the book wasn't as scary as I hoped. At least, this was my initial view as I read the early chapters. The character of Victor and how he is drawn was the most controversial aspect for me. I wasn't sure I liked the take on it, but like most things you have to read the whole story in order to place the individual elements in an appropriate and fair context. If I didn't do that, I would not be being fair as a reviewer, and it is reviews that people will be reading, so I have to respect that.
"The Dramatic Dead works on a number of levels."
The whole private investigator trope isn't new of course, but the author writes central character Dirk with a swagger and verve that keeps you reading. Indeed, from the male perspective I understood his feelings for a certain character (I won't include her name because of spoilers) but guys, we have all done this...practised saying 'I love you....' and find it easy to say when she wasn't there, but we'd freeze when she was! as the author quotes "She's the most spectacular creature on the planet, and I'd die for her."
Yes we would. We know we would.
Another thing is that the humour of the story shouldn't really work, but it does. Lines such as 'the living are so annoying!' Well who can argue with that?
Overall The Dramatic Dead works on a number of levels - as a thriller, as a detective piece, a horror comedy fused with occasional dark horror that somehow, through the quality of the writing, manages to work. Another element takes us on the road to the afterlife. Now because we know practically nothing about that, we have to take the author's position on it. This is just his view, however, and again, it works because the story is so well constructed. It's a long read, but it never really feels like that. Bryan Nowak is a new author and one that I believe will make his mark very quickly. Snap both books up now!