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The Long Way Down (Daniel Faust Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 374 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||
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This book (as I've learned from reading all of the Daniel Faust titles released so far) have multiple plots running together. The story opens up with Daniel introducing the reader to his world in Las Vegas. This is a city that thrives on illusions and we learn that it just goes deeper than the ones that we see. Faust's world is one of magic but it's hidden and one can't really access it. The story follows the usual UF tradition of having a first person narrative. Faust introduces the readers to his friends in the Tiger's Garden, a hangout place which is only accessible to those in tune with magic & other supernatural latencies of the world. He gets approached by an old Minnesotan man to find his grand daughter who has gotten into porn and has now gone missing. Further complicating matters is the fact that she was forced to participate in some heinous films and whose director is knee deep into seedier aspects.
There's a few more plot complications (such as Caitlin's introduction, the main big bad, etc) which further fuel the the story and keep the readers guessing as to where the story might end up. All through out this, the author keeps on laying the groundwork for the sequels as well as the character cast besides Daniel. We are given glimpses of his past and introduced to those whom he considers friends and family. We also get to meet the people he has associated with in the past as a criminal. He still does odd jobs and is a person who operates on the other side of law. But he has his rules and while he's not one to shy away from murder and deceit, he still tries to hold to a moral line of only killing folks who deserve it.
Craig Schaefer really effuses the story with lots of twists and the best way I can think of describing this book and the series is Richard Stark's Parker meets The Dresden Files. The main character and the rest of the characters that are introduced aren't heroes but they sure are heroic in their deeds. They regularly work as thieves and are often the type that would be featured as antagonists or at least working in the shadows. But to the author's credit, the story works and Faust is an absorbing narrator. I loved how the author goes about expanding the story and world while keeping the narrative tightly focussed.
The main mystery gets resolved however the other plot twists get introduced and the story takes a whole new path, leading on to a frightful climax. The story does end on a sombre note and there's enough potential shown within that I wanted to read the second book immediately. The action is more on a personal level and the big battle towards the end does make up a lot for the start. However this book does have some inertia, particularly in the first third wherein the plot is set up and all the characters are introduced.
The author tries his best but considering this is his debut, there's some rough spots in the book which might slowdown the read for many a reader. For me, this book was a decent but slightly slow read but since I had read THE WHITE GOLD SCORE previously. I soldiered on knowing that the once the plot finds its groove, it would be worth it and it definitely was. The story has a good mix of action, plot twists and character drama, and the author hints at certain things that might play out in future books. There are some plot threads and twists which just seem to be resolved easily but this is done with the long haul in mind and something I as a reader could overlook.
Craig Schaefer does that admirably as he leads up to a big climax which does solve most of the plot threads while setting up the sequels. The epilogue is a kicker and hearkens back to very first plot thread and brings it to a solid, fitting conclusion. Still I would rate this book as a three & half star effort, because after reading the sequels I know how good they are and in comparison, this book while absorbing, does its job of introducing the series, characters and world appropriately.
CONCLUSION: The Long Way Down is an admirable debut that introduces the readers to a world wherein the heroes aren't really heroic but charismatic nonetheless, the bad guys are evil but not entirely misguided and the stakes are truly world-shattering. It was a debut that left me admiring the author's ingenuity & writing skills in spite of the flaws within. Give this book a shot if you love urban fantasy and want to read something darker than most titles that have been published so far.
Daniel Faust (cute name) is a sorcerer in Las Vegas and is sort of a cross between magician and detective as he goes through life trying to fix the bad things around him and ensure those who did them are properly handled. Of course most of the crimes he's investigating are of the supernatural kind and the perps are other practitioners of the magical arts. In this first book he also end up with a succubus/demon girlfriend (that can't possibly be a good idea, can it?) who actually comes in handy on more than one occasion when he gets in a jam. To paraphrase a sentence from the book, dealing with her was like walking into a lioness's den wearing a suit made of t-bone steaks. Great image! Looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
I’m not a big Urban Fantasy fan, but this one makes a damn good fit for the genre: a former private eye and modest sorcerer operating in the mystic underground of Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a good fit for me.
Stuff I liked:
- The detective work he does is well done and realistic, like going to the county clerk’s office for property records.
- The world building is kinda cool. The author obviously knows Vegas and what a great place for this kind of story. And I liked the underground community of odd magicians he gathered together, as well as the corporate cult of bad guys.
- Though I didn’t get through enough of the book to get all of the character development for the hero, it was there. Flashbacks and hallucinations make a scattered attempt at giving him some background, but it’s kind of few and far between, and feels a little forced.
Stuff I didn’t like:
- It’s written with what I can only call the Joss Whedon voice. A lot of quick quips, sarcastic comments, and clever comebacks. Everyone’s a snarky hipster, which gets on my nerves quickly. To me it sounds less like how real people talk and more like a corny TV show. A lot of readers (and TV viewers) like that, and if you do you’ll enjoy that voice here too. But I don’t.
- Similarly, the book reads kind of like a fun comic book and less noir as I’d like. (Though he certainly makes a lot of effort to sound noir-ish by using—sometimes over using—old narration tropes and clichés.) This also made it kind of weird for me that he’d dip into such dark places as snuff films and still handle it with that corny Whedon voice.
- The second most important character in the book is a stylish demonic hottie who dresses like an Anime chick, drives a sports car, and has a crush on the loser magician. Again, too comic book/CW TV series for me, and I just didn’t buy that a demon prince’s right hand would give a damn about the hero. (Granted, as far as I had gotten into it, she hadn’t gone all in for dating him yet, but she was heading that way, and that didn’t work for me.)
Overall, I firmly believe that a lot of readers will love this book. And I certainly didn’t hate it, but… It just wasn’t for me. 3 stars.