Jack is your typical, ordinary man. A loving husband and father, an admired school teacher with a seemingly perfect life, one day a harrowing vision creeps into his life. From a first person point of view he experiences the very real terror of a Marine Sergeant Casey Stillman in midst of battle in Iraq. As one vision begins to eclipse into another his grip on reality is gradually fading. Will Jack be able to decipher the meaning of the waking dreams before his world crumbles? The truth may only lie in Fade to Black.
I’ve had the esteemed honour to read two novels written previously written by Wilson, The Traiteur’s Ring and The Donors. After reading one exceptional piece of fiction by an author, any attentive reader cannot deny a certain sensation of intimacy through their story telling. Having shared one exceptional adventure after another it was only natural to embrace this review with great enthusiasm.
Throughout previous reviews it’s become abundantly clear that I’m not exactly what one may consider a war story aficionado. This author’s extensive knowledge of military operations is mesmerizing and created in such fashion that will appeal to a universal audience. His experience is reflective in the story telling and makes it interesting enough that doesn’t come across as condescending or patronizing to the reader. This is crucial plot development and marketing to appease a global audience. One does not have to be partial or even favorable to war stories to fully enjoy Fade To Black.
The contrast of the lead characters Jack and Sgt. Casey is engaging. While Jack’s sensitive side pulls at the heart strings of the readership, Casey patriotic spirit is endearing, guaranteed to capture the attention of even the most cynical of readers.
Supernatural subtext, themes and innuendos are utilized with extraordinary vivid exposition. Jack’s visions on the surface could appear to be psychosis, paranoia and perhaps post-traumatic stress disorder. Yet each episode he endures elude to something unexpected around each corner. The experiences are not entirely unlike The Twilight Zone series.
The interpersonal relationships between Jack, his wife Pam and daughter are heartfelt raising the terror level of their collective circumstances even further. Jack’s reluctance to discuss his ordeal demonstrates admirable traits of humanity although accentuating a common weakness. Refusal to communicate in any relationship despite a martyr complex is ultimately destructive. The vulnerability is enhanced. Many readers will surely relate to Jack’s plight reinforcing the realism of the tale.
Images of Casey’s haunting troupe is bone chilling, graphic and will evoke undeniable nightmares. The mental health profession is depicted well in Wilson’s tale indicating extensive research. A most extraordinary finale unfolds that most will not predict, making this novel a certifiable must read.
No question the subject of war is a sensitive one. Many may be tempted to skip this novel as a result, feeling the very real terror of international conflict as too close to home. This would be a tragedy in its own right and I highly recommend setting aside personal biases or beliefs and giving it an honest try. JournalStone has truly come into its own in the past couple years reinforcing immeasurable talent from a wide assortment of authors and this collection is no exception.
Book Review: Fade to Black – Author Jeffrey Wilson