Howdy! I’ve got a First Impression here. I’m looking at Fade to Black today because one of the authors contacted me and asked me to. Yeah, I do that kind of thing, when I can.
At the Amazon page for the Awake in the Dark series, I read the first chapters of Fade to Black by Tim McBain & L.T. Vargus.
It starts off with:
Any minute now a hooded man will come barreling out of nowhere and kill me.
So that sucks.
I know this because it has happened six times before. I wake up in this alley, hung from a post by a piece of rope lashed to one ankle, tied in a hangman’s knot. After several minutes of work, I pry my bonds free, and about thirty seconds after I hit the ground, this guy in a black hooded robe gives me a pretty bad case of death.
So that gives a pretty good idea of the “voice” of this work – witty, sardonic, and dark all mingled nicely. It’s a funny read with a quick pace, making for nice easy reading. The narrative is a little raw at times – I thought it could have been a bit crisper. There are few too many adjectives and adverbs for my critical eye, but the style can be justified as the main character’s storytelling. I thought some lines were trying too hard to be witty, but overall I appreciated the humour.
The story starts with a nicely intense sequence with Jeff Grobnagger running from someone trying to kill him. The reader learns that Jeff has run down this datrk alley before and has been killed already, six times before! The reader then finds out that Jeff passed out from a seizure while in a grocery store and had the dream or vision of his own grizzly death. Jeff is helped by Glenn, another customer at the store. Jeff, refusing to take an ambulance, instead accepts a ride to Glenn’s home. Glenn thinks that Jeff’s seizures are a form of astral projection, and Glenn reveals that his missing daughter was involved with groups interested in magic and the occult.
This all happens in the first 2 chapters, so it’s a lot. I appreciate the fast pace, however I really thought it odd that Glenn reveals so much right away. It was a bit of a stretch to go from “I’ll help this guy who passed out” to “I’ll take him home” and then to “I’ll tell him everything about my missing daughter”. Sure, it gets the exposition out of the way quickly and gets the story going, but I would have appreciated a little more justification. (I have to admit – this might be part of the humour going straight over my head…)
Thanks to the fast pace and humour, this is a series I’ll definitely try out. At the very least, I’ll check out the first book in the series – it’s less than $1 for Kindle.
Other things I’ve learned from looking in to this:
- Having a dirt cheap or free first book in your series is really effective
- Never be afraid to contact bloggers / authors and ask them to check out your free sample
- Make sure you have a free sample that rocks