Manifest Recall/Recall Night: Alan Baxter
Reviewed By Steve Stred
Over the last few years, Alan Baxter has not only released some amazing works (Devouring Dark/Served Cold/The Roo), but he’s also become an author that I get truly excited for their new releases. When Baxter announced Recall Night, Book Two in the Eli Carver world, I realized I had Manifest Recall sitting on my Kindle, unread.
What I liked: Eli Carver is a thug. Paid to keep business moving for underground boss Vernon. When he comes back from a blackout episode, he is in a car, no memory of recent events and beside him, tied up is a woman of great importance to Vernon.
Baxter opens this thing up at 100mph and from there keeps finding extra gears to throw more and more action at us, while we slowly learn of what caused the blackout.
Carver is a great character. Baxter makes us root for him long before all the details come out and as his journey is laid out, Carver has a great arc for the redemption of past events.
His companion Carly was another well-crafted character. Smart and strong, her evolution paired well with Carver’s.
What I didn’t like: I personally found the paranormal aspect almost unwarranted. Carver sees the ghosts of prior victims and can hear them speak. Except for a small, philosophical moment near the end, they play such a minor role as to be unnecessary. I was hoping Carver would tell Carly, but that never came about.
Why you should buy this: Baxter has crafted a fast-paced, brutal thriller. Carver kills at will and this makes for a fun, unpredictable novella. Think Jason Statham’s ‘Crank’ with ghosts. I’ve got book two preordered and will dive in on release day. You should as well.
After recently cruising through ‘Manifest Recall,’ I was excited to see release day arrive for Alan Baxter’s sequel ‘Recall Night.’
I’d preordered it even before I’d read book one, and seeing how fun the first one was, I knew I’d dive into book two and read it in one sitting.
What I liked: Seeing as this is a sequel, Baxter has done a bang-up job of letting this be read with no prior knowledge to Book One. Carly Sykes makes an early appearance but then is mostly forgotten.
Sykes’ appearance is key though, as it sets the events in motion. Eli Carver is free and clear to return to the States from Canada, where he’s been holed up since the events from ‘Manifest Recall.’ It’s on his return trip to New York that he meets Bridget and agrees to help her out.
It’s from here Baxter goes full ‘John Wick,’ letting Carver stay alive while the layers of mob carnage continue to stack up.
Baxter is such an effortless storyteller, and as I mentioned in the review for book one, his fight scenes are sublime pieces of choreography.
Carver has become a character I truly root for, and his will and knack of surviving have made for some really fantastic segments.
What I didn’t like: As with book one, the ghosts he sees still come off completely unnecessary for me. I could almost see Eli Carver becoming a Jason Bourne-style character in an ongoing mob storyline, but the ghosts either need to leave or come to more fruition. The Papa Night character opened the door a bit, even if the sacrifice/occult scene came out of nowhere.
Why you should buy it: Baxter is a fantastic writer. Both of these books made for really enjoyable action-movie reads and Eli Carver is a truly fun character to follow along.
Baxter is one of my favorite authors and I’d love to see more in this world. I think if you check these two books out, you will as well!
Back from self-imposed exile in Canada where he fled to avoid the law following the blood-stained events in Manifest Recall–the first installment of award-winning author Alan Baxter’s latest supernatural thriller series–Eli Carver returns to the states with thoughts of starting over. But an accidental encounter on a train with a mysterious woman, one he soon learns has her own dangerous past, threatens to unravel his well-intended plans.
Upon their arrival in New York, the duo quickly find themselves entangled in an ongoing war between two rival crime syndicates. And with the ghosts of his own past continuing to torment him, Eli finds himself taking the darkest of turns as he’s drawn down a perilous path into a world of ancient religion and deadly occult rituals.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can follow Steve on Instagram @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here