Romano joins Melton and Dunstan, creators of the Saw film franchise, to pen a fantasy crime, or crime as fantasy, novel. The book opens with Buck exorcising the ghost of a child murderer haunting the New Orleans residence of his widow. The authors offer bits of Buck’s back story as he cruises home to Texas. As a child, Buck was abandoned in Carlsbad, N.M., and sent to an orphanage. As a teen, his gift becomes evident when he sees a ghost plaguing an attendant. The Pull draws that evil woman into Buck, and he experiences the Black Light—“the vision of the dead”—before ridding himself of the tortured soul by vomiting her evil plasma onto her gravesite. Home from his New Orleans Pull, Buck is enlisted by industrialist Sidney Jaeger. The billionaire has built a high-speed bullet train to run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. It will travel at 400-mph-plus across the California desert through an area triangulated by former sites of three maximum-security prisons, grounds where uncounted evil ghosts lurk. Carrying a crowd of celebrities and one very important politician, the super train breaks records rocketing from L.A. to Vegas while Buck rides along battling rogue government agents, backstabbing friends and the evil shades of “Blackjack Nine,” whose leader killed Buck’s parents. The authors are fond of overwrought descriptive language—“bringing the spirit in with a gutterspewing thunder that feels like a toilet flush tremor bolting to the core of the Earth”—random clichés and capital-letter bold statements as they unpack the action and dish out eye-gouging marital-arts battles, dislocated pinkies, shootouts and gut-retching exorcisms. Buck on the screen will require major CGI skills.
Not for Potter or Twilight fans. It’s Ghostbusters with bloody mayhem on steroids, few laughs and a dash of Bruce Lee theatrics.