Eli is a character in the vein of John Wick or Jack Reacher. He's a badass that can use a bunch of guns to take on a mob of people. What sets Eli apart is that he's haunted by a squad of ghosts of men he's murdered. While it's a bit ambiguous as to whether they are actual ghosts or just manifestations of his broken mind, the ghosts lend a distinct character to these books. They constantly taunt and tease Eli throughout his journey and their dialogue is always entertaining. The gun battles in this book are extremely well done and cinematic with excellent descriptions. Often when authors attempt to write a chaotic scene the reader can become confused but Baxter avoids this trap because the battles are definitely chaotic but we never lose our way.
Baxter is an excellent writer and I hope that he continues this story because I absolutely want more from Eli Carver and his ghosts.
Matt is a middle school math teacher. He's originally from Kentucky but currently lives in Arkansas with his beautiful wife and 2-year-old son. In addition to reading dark fiction, he also enjoys board games and Disney World.
RECALL NIGHT is another Eli Carver “supernatural thriller” that picks up where MANIFEST left off. I’ve already read this one and hoping to send in my review to SCREAM Mag soon, so keep your peepers open for that.
Thank you @greymatterpress for keeping me hooked up with quality horror and dark thrillers for review consideration.
Here is my review for MANIFEST RECALL since it's my recommendation you read it first:
This was my first time reading a book written by Alan Baxter. Typically, there's some awkward time for me as I grow acquainted with an author's particular style but not so in Manifest Recall. I felt very comfortable in Baxter's first-person narrative and it helped that I have a sweet spot for urban crime dramas (think 24, Breaking Bad, and Sons of Anarchy). Baxter seems very capable in this genre and is skilled at keeping to a fast pace while also spending time on important details so that the reader feels like a part of the story and not just a confused outsider.
I love a good stoic, quick-witted, tough-guy and the protagonist, Eli Carver quickly won me over to his side. Sure, Carver has plenty of flaws but a flawed hero with bad-guy tendencies make for those inner turmoil moments that I live for--I'm always waiting for that redemptive story that's going to crush my heart. In a stroke of genius, Alan Baxter wrote a fantastic, complicated, female character that pairs perfectly with Carver and I was worried that she wouldn't survive the razor-sharp edge of the plot--that she would somehow get written out, but I was delighted when she kept showing up page after page. Carly is a girl in a "man ruled plot" that doesn't fade into the background or get played as the damsel in distress. I loved her and I loved Baxter's fresh take on the "unwilling female sidekick" role. Brilliant.
The reader gets dropped right down into the middle of something and I'll be damned if I'm going to give away any discoveries or spoilers so instead, I'll just applaud the way the story unfolds to reveal itself little by little, like the peeling back of so many onion layers. As new revelations come to light, the way we interact with Eli and Carly evolve and I enjoyed that very much.
I also really appreciated the "back seat drivers" and that will make sense to you if you read this book--WHEN you read this book. I highly recommend it, there was never a flat scene, never a dull moment and there was always something coming around the bend to add a new flavor to the already robust drama. (PS. SUCH A GREAT ENDING) I can't wait for more!