Monday, 21 May 2012

Evil Dark Review

Evil Dark (Occult Crime Unit Investigations 2)
- Justin Gustainis

Publisher: Angry Robot

Review Copy Received Courtesy of Angry Robot

My name's Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.
A series of seemingly motiveless murders of supernatural creatures points to a vigilante targeting the supe community. Markowski wouldn't normally have much of a problem with that, but his daughter may be next on the killer's list...

Markowski and his partner Karl are back and this time they are investigating some nasty demon possession and an increase in attacks on supernaturals in the town of Scranton. This very much reads like a detective story or a police procedural with the crimes taking precedent over any personal life the two main characters would have. In fact I was reminded of the film Seven for a lot of the read as it had a similar mood and seriousness to the plot. This series is the very definition of Urban Fantasy meets film noir with a dollop of dry humour on the side.

The world is fascinating with all the supernatural creatures widely known and treated with as much prejudice and acceptance of any minority (that is to say, not as much as they deserve). The stakes (no pun intended) are raised with someone desperate to stir things up between the human and supernatural communities. I really like the sensible, no-nonsense head on Markowski’s shoulders and the brains he and Karl use while investigating. There is a lot of intelligence and common sense which is used to solve crimes. I loved the mix of characters around them – from their hard but fair boss, to the dirty joke telling female cop Lacey. I just found myself utterly absorbed by them all and really curious about whom was behind the mysteries. The action is pretty intense and exciting with some fantastic visual images painted.

The writing is a similar throw back to the Sam Spade style which made this seem like a classic story –despite the cell phones and internet use. I don’t think you need to have read the previous book Hard Spell although some elements of that case are mentioned on occasion. If you haven’t read any Urban Fantasy with a male protagonist, this is a good starting point. Especially if you like plenty of wise-cracks and a good story.

Recommended for fans of Ben Aaronovitch and Kevin Hearne. 8.5 out of 10


  1. Oh, it's good to know that this book can be read as a standalone, Mel! Loved the review! This series has been on my rader for a long time, I just need to find time to pick it up :)

  2. I"ve seen this book in NG but the cover didn't appeal to me. Though Angry Robot is one of my fave publishers, they always have kick--ass books!

    Talk Supe

  3. I think it's always interesting to have a good UF featuring a man. I haven't read this series but I need to check it now. thanks for the review!

  4. I did enjoy reading book 1, though not enough for me to actually get book 2. Still it was fun to read about a guy and I wondered about his daughter

  5. Oh I think I want to read both books. This looks like my kind of UF. Sometimes I really like a dark UF.

  6. The second book seemed to follow the first rather quickly. Sounds like a fun series. Thank you!