Saturday, July 14, 2012

Book Review - The Brodie Wade Series

Jerry Hanel's Brodie Wade series rocks.  There are two books so far, Death Has a Name and Thaloc Has a Body.  You could call them highly original paranormal mystery/adventure stories starring Brodie Wade, a man who can see the living embodiment of The Truth.

It's a challenging and intriguing premise for the series.  The Truth has a physical manifestation that is visible and palpable to Brodie Wade, the likeable everyman hero of the series.  The Truth just wants to be known.  In fact, sometimes it demands to be known, and it will quite literally smack Brodie around to make itself heard.  It's one of the most powerful parts of these stories.  The Truth is like a force of nature, extremely powerful yet completely unreasoning.  

Brodie's relationship with The Truth is strained, to say the least.  It has provided him with valuable insights.  It provides a source of income, allowing him to work as a consultant to the local police department.  But it has also pretty much ruined his life.  Brodie has spent time in a mental institution, and as he keeps reacting to things no one else can see, the risk of being committed again is always hanging over his head.

In the first book, Death Has a Name, Brodie has just one friend, homicide detective Phil Dawson.  Aided by a lady cop, Jamie Stanford, they try to stop a mysterious entity who seems to be a serial killer but may actually be trying to bring to life the living embodiment of Death.

Thaloc Has a Body gets off to a killer start when The Truth tells Brodie that he's going to die.  That's frightening enough, but what REALLY scares him is Jamie.  She wants to go on a date.  The mystery is puzzling, the drama is powerful, and the characters and their relationships are endlessly engaging.

Brodie as a hero is the best part of the series.  He's scrawny and timid and introverted, and heartily wishes The Truth would just leave him alone.  He constantly walks a fine line, needing to react to The Truth to keep this powerful supernatural force placated.  Yet he must constantly pretend that The Truth isn't there, to keep up an appearance of sanity.

Yet despite all that he goes through, when the chips are down and the stakes are high, he just keeps doing what needs to be done.  Life keeps clobbering him again and again, and he keeps getting back up, battered and bloody, and fighting the good fight.  You feel his pain, his terror, his hopelessness.  And his remarkable courage.  It's marvelously good reading.

There are things I don't like about the series.  It's crying out for a good editing and proofreading.  The prose is often clunky and unpolished, though the power of the storytelling more than makes up for it.  The Truth is a wonderfully original idea, but it's kind of inconsistently portrayed.  Sometimes The Truth is just a neutral, if powerful, force, wanting only to be known.  Other times The Truth seems to have an agenda, and pesters Brodie to save people who are in danger.  

Overall, though, it's well worth checking out.  Especially since volume 1, Death Has a Name, is currently free.

Get Death Has a Name and Thaloc Has a Body at Smashwords.

No comments:

Post a Comment