May 2, 2013

The Dead Man Heats Up Again: a review of Jude Hardin's "The Dead Man #8: Fire and Ice"

Fire and Ice (The Dead Man #8)
by Jude Hardin
Adventures in Television Inc. (2012)
Available via

The Dead Man series has taken place in some pretty crazy places through the series, so it only makes sense that Matt Cahill would wind up in Florida at some point. If the news has anything to say on the matter, that place is cray-zee.

And that's exactly what happens in the little town of Copperhead Springs when K-Rad, a disgruntled ex-employee for the Nitko industrial plant, sneaks his way onto the property while the bosses are away and commences killing his former co-workers. Enter Matt Cahill.

After arriving in town, Matt meets Shelly at a local bar, sparks fly and she soon sets him up with a temp job at Nitko, where she works. The bosses like him and want him to stay full-time, but Matt only plans to stick around until he can figure out why he's seeing Mr. Dark's telltale signs all over town. When the power goes out in the plant and Matt goes to investigate, he has his work cut out for him with a gun-toting maniac in K-Rad, but that's the least of his troubles before the day is done.

Jude Hardin managed to tap into the Matt Cahill character quite well, balancing his empathy and near fatalistic outlook on his mission against Mr. Dark. The whole "going postal" with the demonic twist was pretty harrowing, too. It felt like the perfect fit for the episodic thriller that is The Dead Man. There is a twist in the latter half of the book that felt less-than-fully fleshed out, but overall the suspense was effective.

I'm not sure how well the story serves as an introduction to the series for new readers, but there's enough backstory sprinkled in to help newcomers out without feeling overwhelmed. For dedicated readers, well, you've probably already read it. But, if you're just getting around to it, then I suspect you won't be disappointed.

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