by Brian W. Matthews
February, 2013; $13.95
Reviewed by Matthew Scott Baker
Every once in a while, I run across a book that blows me away. These books usually contain vivid characters, high intensity writing, and a bone-crunching story; as expected, these books are also few and far between. But despite it’s enigmatic name, FOREVER MAN is one of these excellent novels. Rife with originality and solid prose, this tale enthralled me from start to finish.
If you are not familiar with FOREVER MAN, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the JournalStone website:
Police Chief Elizabeth “Izzy” Morris enjoys keeping the peace in the small town of Kinsey in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But when her seventeen-year-old daughter goes missing after a school dance and the mutilated corpse of the girl’s date is discovered in the nearby woods, Izzy’s police skills are stretched to their limits. Her only suspect is a stranger, a mysterious black man with no known past. When a second stranger appears, the investigation stalls. People she once trusted turn against her. The local banker’s autistic son begins to know things no one else does. Joined by three friends and the man she once considered her enemy, Izzy races to find her daughter–and ends up trapped in the middle of a war between an ancient evil and the man who has stood in its way for nearly two thousand years.
Author Brian W. Matthews is certainly to be commended for this stellar debut. I have never heard of him prior to reading this book, but I am now a huge fan and will continue to read whatever he writes.
Matthews writes with a precise and flowing style that conveys a lot of information in few words. He does not over-emphasize descriptions, as some authors do, but instead lets the action and dialogue describe the scenarios for him. Talent like this is not found very often, but Matthews seems to pull it off with ease.
FOREVER MAN is a taut and gripping story chocked full of suspense and intrigue. It is fast-paced, yet it moves evenly enough to provide a massive dose of pleasant anxiety to the reader as the plot unfolds. I actually lost sleep while reading this book because I kept wanting to read just one more chapter before I went to bed.
I do have a complaint about the book, however it is very minor and should no way dissuade anyone from reading it: I think the back cover art should be on the front. The current cover is very vague and doesn’t jump out like the artwork on the back cover does. I would wager more people would be interested in the book if the cover “popped”.
But this is just a minor observation. FOREVER MAN is a powerhouse of a novel that any fan of horror and/or fantasy must read. I highly recommend this one and suggest you check it out soon.