The conecpt, an ex-cop turned werewolf turned P.I., is fresh and fun. Yes, I slipped "werewolf" in there. If you don't already know the premise, Roman Dalton was a detective in The City until he was bitten. Since then, he splits his time between being a private investigator and single-handedly trying to put Jack Daniels out of business.
This is classic noir stuff. Moody settings, bad-tempered people and lots of grit and grunge. The City is as much a character as the people. And the thing that piqued my interest was the supernatural does not stop with a single werewolf. There is a Haitian voodoo gangster, an alien and let's not forget the zombie strippers, but no vampires yet.
Let's talk about the tales one at a time, shall we?
Drunk on the Moon - Paul D. Brazill sets the tone with the initial story. He gives us a glimpse of how Roman came to be and establishes the prime hangout, Duffy's Bar. He points out all the major players. He names a few unique locales. But that is not the draw of this installment. This one is all about the words. Brazill spins a silky web of metaphors, phrases and descriptions that drip with artistic skill. His words don't simply put you in the story; you feel, taste, touch, smell everything right along with seeing it in your mind's eye.
Fear the Night - Julia Madeleine takes Roman all the way to Quebec. Unfortunately, Roman can not leave his troubles behind. Full moons are unavoidable. Madeleine reminds us that being a werewolf is not Roman's only problem. He struggles with morality and fights the bottle. He is human. To me, that's what makes a story. If the character isn't relatable then it doesn't matter what he does.
The Darke Affair - Allan Leverone hits all the key elements and delivers more of the trademark Roman Dalton. The story is direct and concise. Roman faces off once again with Ton Ton Phillipe, the Haitian voodoo gangster. The fun in this one is Agent Darke. Leverone introduces a mysterious new character, both humorous and frightening. I for one would like to see Agent Darke return, if he survives.
Insatiable - B.R. Stateham brings the fourth installment with excellent force. He has a style that I would call "old school". Maybe that's not exactly right, but he definitely has an understanding of the genre and seems to have gotten inside series creator Brazill's head. His word choice and descriptions are masterful. Without giving away the end, I could not help picturing Anthony Hopkins conversing with the main character. I have not mentioned Ivan Walker from the previous stories, but he should be mentioned here. Stateham really develops the relationship between Roman and his former partner. Ivan is taken from being a cutout on the police force that slips Roman the occassional lead to a friend with a history and continued compassion for Roman's situation. I try not to play favorites, but this may be it (so far).
So those are the four stories currently available. There are three more well underway. I have the privilege of adding to this enthralling tapestry, but that is down the road a bit. In the meantime, I shall continue to read and enjoy what the other exciting authors have to say about Roman and his plight.
In the meantime, why not give my own series a shot? The first three chapters of Reprisal are now available: Making Plans, Making Memories; The Impeccant; and Shadow Boxing. Trestle Press is still doing the Buy One Get One, so send me your proof of purchase to any of the stories and I will send you a story for FREE.
Don't worry, I will have some nasty treats for you for Halloween as well. Be looking over your shoulder for the next chapter of Reprisal, Severed with Darren Sant, and maybe one more surprise.