Book Review: Black Fall

Yes. I can read books. An earthquake rocks the east coast and a video surfaces of a man predicting it. One small problem, he's been dead for eight years. To the layman, the act would appear supernatural. Fortunately, the FBI has Jessica Blackwood, magician turned agent. She's tackled other larger than life cases in the previous two books, and quickly dismisses the prediction as a trick. But it's just the first of many, and she's the only one equipped to figure out what is going on and who could be behind it.

Some events could easily be ripped from current headlines, giving this novel an extra suspenseful feeling. All of the story seems plausible, even if not necessarily likely to happen. The pace is ratcheted up nicely throughout, and by the last quarter of the book I just ended up reading straight through.

This series, and this book in particular, put a unique spin on detective stories. From natural disaster predictions, to cults, to secret government facilities, there's a lot to take in with Black Fall. The events and crimes just look impossible to explain, until Agent Blackwood uses her background and knowledge to reverse engineer the perplexing mysteries. I full expect the Jessica Blackwood stories to hit TV or movies at some point.

Black Fall stands alone quite well. I believe you'd enjoy this more by reading the previous two books, but it's not required to understand the plot nor the major players. The ending here makes Black Fall feel more "complete" than the others in my opinion. Though a future story is set up, it's a satisfying ending and perfectly in character. I didn't walk away from this thinking "you can't end it there!" as I have in many of Andrew Mayne's other books (not that has to be a bad thing!).

Finally I want to say I think one of Mayne's greatest tricks in his writer's toolbox is his use of prologues to jump start a story with intrigue and inevitably connect what seem to be unrelated stories to the larger plot at hand. It's done exceedingly well again in Black Fall and I'm consistently impressed with how he structures his stories in the way that he does.

Is Black Fall good? Yes.

I'd put it above Name of the Devil (Book 2) but below Angel Killer (Book 1). But all three are good.

David Quigley