Don’t let his cool demeanor fool you, Jake King’s life has been a long, haunted existence. His father died when he was six, his mother is incarcerated at a mental health facility, he’s just lost his job as a journalist and he’s crossed paths with the local mob. Of course, this is only the beginning, as Jake soon begins seeing the wandering, translucent spirits of the streets of Providence crying out for his help. Worse yet, there is a stalking shadow that has been killing people around him. If Jake doesn’t discover what this revenge spirit wants and how to stop it, he could wind up in the obituaries. Even if he survives this spirit and the mob hit, he must contend with the screaming headaches, a shady mentor figure, and unknown beings from beyond the veil that threaten our world. Revenant is a Horror/Urban Fantasy novel set in H.P. Lovecraft’s city of Providence.
I won this one from a Facebook party, and like several of the other books I’ve reviewed recently wound up mixed in the mess I call my email’s inbox. First impressions when I started weren’t the best, since this is a very linear book and takes a while to really get some momentum built up. However, do NOT skip any of the early part, even if you think you’re a little bored – you’ll need every scrap of setting information later. This is a murder/mystery thriller with an urban fantasy bent, after all. And, like all the good ones, subtle clues are dropped throughout that make sense as you read through to the end.
Peter manages to avoid the cliche’d opening line “It was a dark and stormy night” while bringing about just that type of feeling. The world building brought the city to life around me as I read, even though it was done in quick sketches, rather a detailed descriptive setting. Again, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a boring read, there’s a host of information lying just below the surface, which will make re-reading this one an interesting venture.
The plot is driven heavily by the characters, which always pulls me into the story. Even the secondary characters had enough depth to make them stand out against the setting, though the two main characters really were the scene stoppers. As they should be. At times, the character development had me wishing something would happen, at other times I chortled at something they did because it was so realistic (and I remember doing something similar for various reasons.)
The overall pace of the story felt a little slow at first, then as the story began really picking up interest, the pace picked up steam as well. Nothing ever really felt rushed, though at times I did feel like there were places where things were glossed over for the sake of keeping the story moving. There wee also a few places where I felt like I’d been jarred out of the story through the similarities in some of the plot twists between Revenant and a few of the popular mass marketed books I’ve read before. While not a bad thing, I only mention it because the actual published genres are enough different, I would not have expected this type of idea cross pollination to work as well as it does.
This is a self-contained story, with a not-so-happy ending. (Read the book if you want to understand that, because the ones you’d expect to survive might or might not. No spoilers!) There’s quite a few threads not quite fully tied up, which I can see being used for a sequel or two. Overall, this one is a weak 4 out of 5 stars for me. It is a darkly captivating story, but the slow start just makes it hard to recommend to everyone. I think that the appeal will be better with the thriller/suspense readers than the fantasy readers because of the necessary set up that happens early in the book.