Cryptic by Erik Dean

Cryptic

From the "Garbageman" series, volume 2
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this sequel, an artist finds his psychic powers waning as a serial killer and a supernatural horde descend on Arizona.

It’s been two years since the Bangers shot David Turley and Dr. Newman saved his life. Using the experimental substance Neurogen, the doctor gifted David with healing abilities and telekinesis in Dean’s (Garbageman, 2015) previous installment. Now, David has married girlfriend Julie, and the two artists are enjoying life in Phoenix. One weekend, they visit a Hopi reservation. Julie acquires a new kachina figurine for her collection, and David finds a mysterious man who gives him the corner of a stone tablet. “With this piece of stone comes a great responsibility,” the man tells him. Later, news outlets report that a serial killer called the Fisherman is terrorizing the area, leaving mutilated bodies in his wake. David wonders about his responsibility to the city after using his psychic talent to create a trash monster that fought the Bangers. Recently he’s been visiting Newman—not only to develop a safer version of Neurogen, but also because his powers seem to be vanishing. At his latest appointment, David sits in the waiting room after some tests, anticipating the results. Newman, however, disappears. In this novel, Dean presents his hero—who’s a cross between the Hulk and a dumpster—with some familiar horror villains. Early in the narrative, the ghoulish Fisherman thread brings readers to an underground conclave of vampires and werewolves. The monstrous horde is led by Hellann, whose power over her minions isn’t quite what is seems. Add to this mix some Hopi lore about the shape-shifting Ya Ya, or as David’s mentor Bradley explains, “Have you ever wondered why nobody has ever caught...Bigfoot? It’s because they are Native American skin walkers.” Dean once again keeps the mood fun (at one point, David thinks, “It is time to do some recycling”) yet brutal (a werewolf rips “half a rib cage from a running man”). Sometimes the story flows too placidly, as when David learns about manipulating energy and his “third eye” with little resistance. Horror fans should nevertheless celebrate the author’s flair for demented action and gore.

With the same winning humor, the Garbageman evolves to face deadlier challengers.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5353-6670-0
Page count: 376pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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