A Beast Within (The Dead Man #7)
by James Daniels
created by Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin
Adventures in Television (2012)
I'm finally getting myself caught up in the Goldberg/Rabkin creation, The Dead Man. It's coming up on a year since I read the sixth episode in the adventures of Matt Cahill, the man who came back from the dead after being frozen under an avalanche. Just too many books on my review pile, and this series kind of fell to the wayside.
In the seventh installment, A Beast Within, Matt is in Michigan to find an author he hopes holds the key to better understanding his terrible gift. Seeing the evil lurking in people physically depicted on their flesh after they've been corrupted by Matt's nemesis, Mr. Dark, is hardly something to be considered a gift, but he's made good use of it so far in his adventures. But if there's a way to put a stop to it all, it's worth looking into. What Matt finds, however, is a white-supremacist militia set to implode--and Matt's caught right in the middle.
Turns out the leader of this Aryan crackpot parade is the same guy Matt's been looking for, but he had no idea how far into crazytown the guy had gone. And things have come to a boil with the guy's Russian mail-order bride serving as the catalyst for a revolt among his followers.
Out of all the Dead Man books I've read so far, this one veered from the main narrative the most. Once inside the compound and finding out he's been on a wild goose chase for answers, Matt breaks out his trusty ax and literally fends off the barbarians at the gates. The Dead Man series has developed its own kind of mythos through each novella, but this one really struck its own chord with creepy shadows, a mythical Russian bear, and even a bit of the Insane Clown Posse.
The book certainly has exciting moments, but I wound up underwhelmed, and even a little disappointed by it. It didn't propel the over-arching storyline as much as I had hoped, and the introduction of new supernatural elements felt like they went against the grain of what's already been established. Maybe as I read the next two novellas in the series, pieces of this one will become clearer, but for now I'm just glad Matt Cahill is getting the heck out of Michigan.