Halfway to Dead and The Black Nexus by Leigh Grayson (Kindle Worlds, 2013)
The final 2 Kindle Worlds Dead Man novels are Halfway to Dead and The Black Nexus. Both are written by Leigh Grayson. Ms. Grayson has published several mystery and paranormal novels over the past few years. She’s also an MFA student.
The Black Nexus is the more ambitious of the 2 books. Matt Cahill, trusty ax in hand, finds himself caught up in an inter-spacial-time rift. Mr. Dark has found a way to link up with his other “persons” on the infinite time lines. However, Matt encounters 2 of his other personages to help him out: Cahill and “shooter”. Each are from a different time line where they too have been pursuing the demonic Mr. Dark. But what makes the plot really interesting is Janey, his deceased wife from the first Dead Man novel, has found a way to enter Matt’s prime time line. In her world, Matt Cahill died of cancer and she found herself battling Mr. Dark.
The shorter of the 2 books, The Black Nexus suffers from not having enough space to fully develop the plot. The Janey from the next world who shows up in this novella is a knife fighter. She readily dispatches the bizarre creatures unleashed from the rip in the dimensions. She’s a Hong Kong martial art action heroine, not the demure wife from Matt’s memories. This book reminded me of the 5 doctors episode from the British Dr. Who TV show. But it suffers from the author trying to throw too many ideas into the plot at once. It’s still a good read and worth buying.
The second book by the same author, Halfway to Dead, works very well as a Dead Man novel. Matt Cahill hitches a ride to Vale, Colorado during the snow season and encounters another plot by Mr. Dark to unleash a reign of evil on the world. The novella is slightly longer than the last one and has the advantage of taking place in Grayson’s home state. In other words, it has a ring of authenticity for a horror novella.
Halfway to Dead is also the most sexually explicit Dead Man episode I have encountered. For example, the first sentence: “The sex was good. Phenomenal. Mind-blowing.”. It begins with a description of an extended session between an elderly rich man and an escort. Told from the escort’s perspective, you know it’s not going to end well. And there’s plenty of other graphic sexual encounters as well. Some involving the hero and it *ahem* in detail. It almost pushes the novella into the “erotica” territory. Not that that’s a bad thing, as they use to say on Seinfeld.
I’m hoping more writers will take advantage of the Kindle Worlds program. At least for The Dead Man series. For some reason, I can’t find a link to it from the official Dead Man page on Amazon. Which is too bad as the series creators can only help their creation by promoting it.
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