Book Review: Manifest Recall by Alan Baxter

“As a reader, it is difficult to fathom how Baxter will be able to keep up the relentless pace and energy of the first part, but maintain it he does. Exceeds it, even.”

 

On page one of Manifest Recall, the reader discovers that they know as much about the protagonist as the protagonist does. That includes the fact that he is hurtling down the road in a beaten up old car and that a young woman in her late teens-to-early twenties is sitting in the passenger seat, terrified, hardly dressed and with her hands bound with cable ties. Rarely does a book start with such a sucker punch, but Alan Baxter is actually just getting started.

Eli Carver slowly begins to piece together the series of events that brought him to this daring—perhaps stupid flight from the criminal gang that is really the only family he has ever known. As we come up to speed, realising that Carver is a hitman—and a damn good one—we observe the stepping stones, via flashback, that Eli has passed over on his way to the deadly situation he finds himself in. We begin, too, to understand a little better how Carly—the girl in the passenger seat—came to be there and why she has stuck around through Eli’s terrifying blackouts.

The cast of the book is narrow, allowing us to get to know the central characters well. Side characters too, though, are colourfully sketched and add to the story, never feeling like token additions. Besides Eli and Carly, the main people receiving ‘screen time’ in the novella provide the horror element to this noir/horror mashup. They are significant victims of Eli’s career as a gun for hire. They variously aid and taunt him throughout the story, as well as unpicking details of information about the kind of man he once was and the kind of man he now wants to be. For, while this is in many senses the classic story of the gangland badass—expert fighter, shooter, drug and gun runner—it is also the story of a man who wants out. One who wants to atone for some of his past wrongdoing.

Without wanting to provide spoilers, Part One is scene setting, a one-thousand-mile-per-hour catch up, bringing the reader up to speed with how Eli got himself into this mess. Part two is his decisive action to resolve the situation. As a reader, it is difficult to fathom how Baxter will be able to keep up the relentless pace and energy of the first part, but maintain it he does. Exceeds it, even.

For fans of noir, or simply lovers of a story full of action and intrigue, Manifest Recall has everything you could want from a novella. At just one hundred-and-sixty pages, it can be devoured comfortably in a single sitting. Such is the energy of the book that finding a place to pause is a difficult task. If page one starts with a sucker punch, the remainder of the book might be thought of as continuing from there. A relentless beating of the reader, but one which you will to go on until the bitter end.

KEV HARRISON

Publisher: Grey Matter Press
Paperback: (160pp)
Release Date: 26 June 2018

If you enjoyed our review and want to read Manifest Recall by Alan Baxter please consider clicking through to our Amazon Affiliate links. If you do you’ll help keep the This Is Horror ship afloat with some very welcome remuneration.

 

Buy Manifest Recall by Alan Baxter

Support This Is Horror Podcast on Patreon

  • For $1 you get early bird access to all our podcasts and can submit questions to guests.
  • For $3 you get access to our patrons-only podcast Story Unboxed: The Horror Podcast on the Craft of Writing.
  • For $4 you get the full interview, no two-parters.

The best way to support This Is Horror is via Patreon. How much will you pledge? Go on. Be awesome.

Visit our Patreon page and pledge to the This Is Horror Podcast today. 

This Is Horror Books

Head on over to the This Is Horror Shop to see the books we have available. We have a special offer on All Four Year One Books—JUST £10!

This Is Horror Books on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon

Subscribe, Rate and Review on iTunes!

Help the Podcast, spread the word: subscribe, rate and review on iTunes UK, iTunes US or your country’s iTunes.

Amazon Affiliates

Support us by shopping through our Amazon Affiliate links: Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.thisishorror.co.uk/book-review-manifest-recall-by-alan-baxter/

1 comment

  1. Nice review. Sounds like George Miller meets Stephen King. Not a bad combo.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: