by Norman Partridge
About the eBook:
A storm is coming to Cliffside, California, and with it comes a killer.
His name is Clay Saunders, and he walks in two worlds. Born with a caul, Saunders sees ghosts. But to him, the world of the dead is very much like the world of the living. It's a realm of eternal pain -- inescapable and relentless -- that cuts as deeply as the razor edge of the hired killer's K-bar knife.
Saunders has spilled blood on Florida sand, and the snow-covered Canadian prairie, and the black lava of Hawaii. His latest target is Diabolos Whistler, leader of a satanic cult. Exiled in Mexico, Whistler is alone when Saunders stabs him just above the first vertebrae... alone, except for the mummies stacked like so much cordwood in his library.
But the living who await the killer's arrival in Cliffside are more frightening than the decayed corpses of the dead. There's Whistler's daughter Circe, a tattooed siren who leads Saunders to a bed of iron and satin...and Circe's bodyguard, a seven foot student of Egyptology whose sarcophagus rests in a redwood pyramid... and Janice Ravenwood, a new age medium with a startling hidden gift.
And there's a little girl, a ghost held prisoner by vengeful revenants. Only Clay Saunders can save her. To do that, he must bridge the worlds of the living and the dead in an unforgettable climax of darkness and blood.
Clay Saunders is a hired killer who sees ghosts. The realm of the dead touches him more deeply than the equally pained world of the living, which he finds inhabited by people with little humanity. The latest victim of his K-bar knife is Diabolos Whistler, a satanic cult leader who makes Aleister Crowley look like Santa Claus. But Circe, Whistler's tattooed and seductive media-savvy daughter who seeks to replace him, and her colorful band of nasties make Whistler seem benign in comparison. Impelled by an immediate need to save his own skin as well as a compulsion to somehow save a little girl ghost, Saunders tangles with dead spirits and the death-deserving living. Vivid writing, lightning pace and true originality make this novel a genuine page-turner, but an unrelenting and disturbingly amoral one. Partridge creates a world where the most sympathetic character is a ghost and the hero's only redeeming aspect is his attachment to that ghost. Best known for the darkly humorous gonzo noir mass-market Jack Baddalach novels (Ten-Ounce Siesta, etc.), Patridge here denies the reader both irony and empathy. Saunders kills the innocent as well as the guilty with little regret and is never provided with sufficient motivation, however warped, to do so. In this realm where the negative is the norm, the reader feels at sea, without even the life saver of an examination of the iconic outsider to hold on to.