“It isn't hard to find evil in this world. Evil is always more easily imagined than good, somehow.” – Gregory Maguire
Author Richard Dawes’ novel ‘Jack Slade – Night of the Hunter’ is an action filled adventure thriller. The protagonist of the novel is its namesake, Jack Slade. He works for the Diamond Group, a private security organization that deals with crisis situations all over the globe. However, the antagonists he pursues aren’t from this world. Jack Slade is the Head of the Occult Division, and he is its only member. He is the operative who prevents the dark forces from overrunning the world. A number of gruesome murders have taken place in San Francisco, and Slade is asked to work with the police department to catch the killer. But the job becomes dangerous when he realizes he has to go up against the most powerful Vampyre in the world.
'Night of the Hunter' and Jack Slade have an easy going feeling about them. They aren’t complex by any stretch of the imagination. There are vast segments within the book, however, that turn serious and intent driven – in discussions of good & evil, existence of different realities, and how the perception of any phenomenon is dictated by the perspective from which it is viewed. The writing is very good and the author’s eye for detail is excellent. The descriptions, be it of the scenery or of the characters are spot on and the reader will feel as if they are right in the middle of the action. There are plenty of standout scenes in the book. The opening segment itself does a good job in setting the right mood. There’s plenty of suspense in the narrative and the reader will definitely be shocked by the climax.
Jack Slade is an interesting character. He differs from the heroes generally found in Occult and Fantasy fiction fighting demons and evil forces. He is an up-front hero and does his job quickly and efficiently. He is also able to curb his lone-wolf approach and work as part of a team as they tackle dangerous situations. Then again, his advanced psychic senses give him an advantage over others when battling evil forces. The supporting cast is well drawn, and each character has his or her own style. The villain, Lawrence Swann, is a worthy opponent for Slade, and is larger than life. Even though Swann is pure evil and from a different realm, he has an efficient way of dealing with situations and in furthering his plans.
The only problem I had with the book was its editing. Occasionally, the way some chapters ended and the next began raised an eyebrow. The transitions weren’t smooth and there was a certain abruptness. Also, I felt the long conversation between Slade and a psychologist could have been diminished without losing the message.
'Night of the Hunter' and Jack Slade will definitely keep the reader interested. The action is fast paced, stylized, and vividly described. The world Jack Slade moves within is definitely worth exploring and deserves sequel stories.
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Paperback: 147 pages
Publisher: Melange Books, LLC; First edition (July 12, 2016)