The Dead Man – Face of Evil by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin
Once upon a time you could walk into any bookshop and see rows upon rows of slim, mass market paperbacks. Many of these were series based around popular characters and they were written with only one goal – to entertain. But over the years these once popular series all but disappeared, to be replaced by the 500 page tomes that are still prevalent today, but although many books need 500 plus pages a great many, the majority actually, could benefit from having the padding removed. In the days of the mass market paperback the average title ran to around 125 pages which meant no room for padding, as page after page was filled with story.
Reading was more fun back then – well now thanks to the eBook medium those days have been resurrected…sort of
Authors Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin initially developed The Dead Man as a proposed TV series, but what with one thing and another they were unable to get it produced. They then hit on a novel (pun intended) idea of building a series of books around the character and getting world class genre writers to turn the scripts into all new novels.
The series currently runs to five books and the first, Face of Evil, which gives the origin of the character, is written by the series creators themselves. And I’m pleased to report they’ve thrown political correctness out of the window and written a book the way they used to.
“She was fat enough to be hunted by the Japanease for her blubber. Then again, so was he. But that was completely different. He was a guy.”
“He’d risen from an inbred family of illiterate toothless moonshiners to become senior die-cut sorter on the assembly line at Worldwide Patch.”
Using the immediacy of electronic publishing, the schedule for the series is set at a book a month and my guess is that a lot of people will be following these books. The writers really have recreated those years gone by when paperback original series hit the racks every month, unpretentious slim little volumes that truly kicked arse.
Face of Evil certainly does that – I was immediately struck by the sense of humour. The story is set out in an episodic fashion , which is to be expected given its origins as a TV script. And perhaps because of these origins, the need to keep the viewer interested and away from the remote control, the book is so compelling with a cliff hanger of sorts ending each and every one of the short chapters. We start out with the discovery of Matt Cahill’s body frozen in ice – he’s been missing for three months, ever since being buried during an avalanche. Shortly afterwards the doctor who is about to perform an autopsy on the rapidly thawing cadaver realises that the man is still alive. The doctor knows this is impossible, no one could survive being frozen for three months and yet – Matt Cahill is alive.
How this is possible is not fully explained in this volume but there are plenty of hooks dangled to keep the reader turning the pages. By the end of the book we’ve discovered much about Matt, but there is so much still to discover, and we just can’t wait for that next book…and the one after that… and the one….
The Dead Man looks like becoming a truly essential supernatural thriller series.
Find out more about the series HERE