Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review: Evil Dark by Justin Gustainis

One of Angry Robot Books' most recent releases is Evil Dark by Justin Gustainis.  Evil Dark is the second book in a series of novels starring Detective Sergeant Stan Markowski and his vampire partner Detective Karl Renfer.

This book could be subtitled Law & Order: OCU (Occult Crime Unit).  If you are a fan of police procedural stories and also enjoy horror, this is an interesting mixture of the two genres.

Publisher's Summary:

“My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also a crucifix, some wooden stakes, big vial of holy water and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.”
A series of seemingly motiveless murders of supernatural creatures points to a vigilante targeting the supe community of Scranton.
Markowski wouldn’t normally have much of a problem with that, but his daughter may be next on the killer’s list…

The main plot involves the investigation into a mystery surrounding a series of demonic snuff films.  Markowski must work with and interact both normal human criminals, cops and civilians but also Supes.  Markowski's world is populated by the full range of supernatural beings, vampires, werewolves, witches, demons, trolls, etc. It is curious to see how these different groups of supernatural beings have adapted to living in the real world.

Detective Markowski has to juggle his personal life that features a vampire daughter and a number of interesting female potential love interests, all of whom could be in danger from the villains i the story.

What Gustainis does really well is integrating the Supes into the gritty reality of Scranton.  What he failed at to this reader was in some of his characterization, particularly of the female characters.  At times it felt like the female characters where doing and saying what a teenage boy would want them to do and say and not what they should actually end up doing.  This issue was most glaring at the books end, but I'd be interested to hear if others had the same issues that I do after reading.

While I did have some issues with Gustainis' characterizations, overall I found it to be a very fun novel.  Evil Dark feels like one of those old pulp magazine stories, set your expectations accordingly and enjoy the ride.

For more on the book visit: Angry Robot Books and to purchase the book you can visit 

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