Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-61923-165-8
Jack Evens is a bit of a ghostbuster. He can “see into higher worlds”, making the private investigator a handy person to have around when you have an issue with the woo-woo. A mad killer beheading his victim qualifies as a case for Jack, especially when Jack’s name is written in blood, as part of a message from the killer, in the scene of the crime. Thus the scene is set for a showdown between Jack and a killer who seems to be under the control of mysterious beings called – duh – The Dream Beings.
Jack is a wise-cracking sort – the kind of guy private investigators are usually typecast as in such stories, but he’s alright. This is a pretty short story, but it boasts some tight pacing and taut, engaging narrative, so this is one story that is easy and entertaining to read.
But is this part of a series, though? I can’t tell even after visiting the author’s website. I do know that I start scratching my head and wonder whether I should laugh or go “Hmm…” when the author starts tossing in angels and Jack getting special powers during the denouement. Such developments make sense if this one is part of a series, as characters getting new powers is a standard development in urban fantasy and such. If this is a standalone story, however, these developments feel tad like a cop-out. It’s like having Lion-O being surrounded by the enemies and is about to die, until suddenly the Sword of Omens falls from the sky right into his hands just because.
At any rate, this is a decent read, but the pay off could have been a bit better.