Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fade To Black by Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus: A Review

Jeff Grobnagger suffers from seizures that thrust him into a dream state where he dies violently. Over and over again. A hooded figure runs him down, killing him mercilessly. He snaps out of it and wonders what's going on. Everyone who's anyone in the paranormal world of magic and parlor tricks seems to know him. They know all about his dreams. He's special to them. He doesn't know why, because he's a hopeless self loather with a lot of money from online poker that has a bleak outlook on life. Don't get too close to Grobnagger, he doesn't exactly like people.  

That's the skinny of it. The basic premise for Fade To Black by Tim McBain and L.T. Vargus. A psychological suspense-thriller with a not so new concept, mixed with a little paranormal filling. The book opens up in one of these dreams sequences and it's cool. Almost palpable. When Grobnagger wakes up, he meets Glenn Floyd who he spends most of the book with. 

Glenn is looking for his daughter Amity who has been wrapped up in the occult meanderings of the League of Light, the Disunion of Shadows, and The Sons of Man. Which one he's not sure, and which one is trying to kill Grobnagger, neither are sure of. What's sure in Fade To Black is that Glenn makes some kick ass food; from chocolate chip pancakes to curry chicken that tastes better cold. Glenn tries to help Jeff work through all of his issues, and they both spend time theorizing through monologues and soliloquies on the travails of life. This made me feel like I was reading a self help book half the time and the authors were trying to make sure their thoughtful opinions were heard by the audience. This was all grand and quite intelligent, but often it did nothing to really push the plot along.

About 80% of the way through, I was wondering when we were going to get to the juice. I was also hoping that what I guessed of it, wouldn't come true about the plot. But it did [insert sad face]. Fade To Black is well written. Only found two grammatical/typing errors. The book is written in the first person from Jeff Grobnagger's perspective, who's quite opinionated and uses a little bit of colorful language from time to time, but is not overdone or distracting. What the books suffers a bit from is too much useless description. The writing is good enough that I kept reading and the twist at the end is quite pleasant. However, I think the book could have been cut in half without taking away from the story. 

The only major hang up I have from Fade To Black is in the delivery of the dialogue. Conversationally it's realistic and natural. Again, quite well written. I believe the characters mean what they say and I even laughed aloud twice or thrice. I would recommend they take a look at Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games trilogy when structuring their dialogue in the first person. I think they used the word 'say(s)' way too much because I noticed it. I began skipping over it at certain points because the structure was the same. 

With all that hogwash being said, I'm interested enough because of Fade To Black's quality ending to read on in the series. Thus, after a few writing projects of my own and knocking off the six books on my desk, I'll download the second book in the series Bled White. I'll probably download it before then just so I have it safely secured on my Kindle. Since everything on my kindle must be read, it's safe to say I'll be reading Bled White if it is there. So while I had a hang up or two, I implore you to give Fade To Black a god if you enjoy the paranormal or psychological suspense. The writing is pretty slick and fun with a book saving twist at the end. Happy reading.
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