When a man wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of how he’d gotten there he soon realizes his past is just as elusive as to the reasoning he’s there. Carnage and mayhem quickly ensue as a killer for hire is relentless to terminate the John Doe. A nurse swiftly intervenes and discovers the sole purpose of her existence is to protect him. A fallen priest turned hitman is blackmailed into finding and destroying the unlikely duo on the lamb. Did I mention the world around them may very well be coming to an end?
I’ve had the esteemed honor and privilege of reading more than a handful of Michaelbrent Collings novels for review. Collings is one of those rare authors that become so addictive you anticipate his next release with great vigor before it hits the market. If I had not been in the position of reviewer I would most definitely flock to any and all of his work, devouring each more ravenously than the last.
This Darkness Light was a much different Collings endeavor for me. Ordinarily I digest a typical novel by our beloved wordsmith in a day or two. This time around, the nearly five hundred page behemoth sat with me for a couple of months. It’s much more different than previous endeavors and dare say that perhaps this could be best described as an experimental piece for this author. I admire the fact that despite his vast experience and plethora of previous releases, Collings continues to challenge himself and put forth material that may have been a little bit beyond his usual comfort zone. After all a writer that continues to draft the same material time and again will inevitably become stale and the effort will translate in a most transparent manner unto the potential reading audience.
There are three simultaneous plots within This Darkness Light. Each as previously summarized within the opening paragraph of this review, do manage to eclipse one another and of course interweave in the direction the gradual escalation of circumstance. It’s refreshing to see a number of characters grapple with the consequences and scenarios around them and it moves the plot along at a break neck pace.
The author does an impeccable job of depicting hysterical, irrational psyche in his characters. The crazy thoughts we all have but are too afraid to voice are exploited within these pages in monologue style. We can all certainly relate to each individual’s plights and observations and it strengthens our bond with each knowing that our lunatic fringe is not as uncommon as we may have been lead to believe.
Some sort of secret service email exchange usually opens each chapter. The president and the lower levels of hierarchy are involved and it provides some interesting levity to the plot. It breaks the monotony of traditional story telling prowess and strengthens the pace as we are provided a foreshadow of what impending doom the world has on the horizon.
The dry wit and sarcasm we see from such characters as Serafina, Isiah and Jack provides some much needed humor into the mix. The razor sharp retorts are some of the stuff Dean Koontz would be proud of. The complexity of each character keeps us engaged until the final end. The days of black and white, good and evil are no longer as clean cut in a setting where the world has gone awry. Often the heroes do dastardly things and the villains can be our best allies. It keeps the reading audience on their psychological toes so to speak and I commend this author for creating a much more realistic back drop in humanary interaction than most other authors dare.
Of course if you’re familiar with any of Michaelbrent Collings previous novels and are wondering if the gore factors have been expunged than fear not perpetual reader. Some of the scenes are so over the top outlandishly gruesome they’re near hysterical. One particular passage comes to mind in: “…idling chainsaw only wetter, quieter saturated in blood and gristle.” Is just one sample of what the Spatterpunk allegiance has to look forward to.
If you’re new to Collings work or have dabbled here and there I strongly implore you to take this reading odyssey and highly look forward to the next voyage on the S.S. Collings.