Book Review: All The Dead Men by Errick Nunnally

“A thrilling, action-packed continuation of Smith’s dark, blood-soaked story that has us eagerly anticipating the next chapter.”

 

All the Dead Men by Errick Nunnally - coverBefore Errick Nunnally opted for art school—where he trained and graduated as a graphic designer—he served one tour in the United States Marine Corp. Since then, when he isn’t working, or spending time with his family, or practicing martial arts such as Krav Maga or Muay Thai kickboxing, he has been busy honing his craft as an author, with numerous short story publications, one superhero fantasy science fiction novel (Lightning Wears a Red Cape, ChiZine, 2019) and two supernatural horror novels about unconventional werewolf, Alexander Smith (Blood for the Sun and All The Dead Men, both published in 2020 by Twisted Publishing).

While it would give the reader a deeper understanding of the character of Alexander Smith, and most of the supporting cast, it is not essential to read Blood for the Sun before reading Nunnally’s latest. He does a succinct job of addressing the pertinent points at natural stages, when they arise during Smith’s latest adventure. In fact, while the first book takes its time developing the characters and their many quirks, the second book is unhindered by backstory relating to Smith’s current life in Boston. It does begin with a flashback to a missing person case (Smith’s speciality, given the keen senses afforded him by his ability to transform into a large wolf) that gives a quick introduction to his work and what drives him, even a couple of decades later. It also may have a bearing on his latest mystery.

Smith receives a call from Detective Roberts, his liaison within the police department and someone who was probably happier being blissfully ignorant of the existence of supernatural creatures before he experienced it first-hand during the finale of book one. Now he is haunted by a bloody battle between a group of bloodthirsty vampires and a pack of shifters with which Smith had aligned himself. He was instructed by his predecessor to trust Smith, something he does grudgingly. But he has no other choice when the set of an amateur pornographic movie becomes a bloodbath and the star of the movie is missing. Roberts has proof on video that Alexa Vexa is more than human, so he calls in the best person he knows who can deal with the supernatural. But Smith takes some convincing, repeatedly making the point that he does not make a habit of dealing with Vexa’s kind. But he is plagued by memories of a past life when he was a younger shifter, and he can’t get past the idea that there is a connection with this new case.

Nunnally does an excellent job of intertwining Smith’s reminiscences with the present-day action to further develop the story. As readers of book one will know, Smith has been suffering from a unique type of memory-loss that is especially problematic for someone who has lived as many lifetimes as Smith. He has overcome it to a certain degree by the time book two begins, but he is still haunted by memories, including one that specifically relates to Alexa Vexa and he is compelled to investigate the case, leading him to a sinister organisation that threatens the supernatural world and human world alike. They are a congregation of vampires, following a prophecy that promises to restore them to their rightful place as the masters of the world. When they involve Smith’s adopted vampire daughter Ana, and threaten the ones that he loves, the shapeshifting PI must give everything to stop them. And it will cost him dearly.

Prospective readers don’t need to read book one, but they really should. And then they should read book two. In Alexander Smith, Nunnally has created an intriguing hero, but one with more than a few skeletons in his closet, something Smith is haunted by, but also something for which he is ready to make amends. There is plenty of mileage left in this old dog, and more stories to tell about him, whether he survives the explosive ending to this book or not. Author Christopher Golden referred to it as “hard-boiled horror noir” and we can think of no better description of the book, or Nunnally’s style. Smith is as tough as they come; handy in a fight, and not known for suffering fools. He will use the skills he has learned throughout his long career for as long as he can. But, when violence becomes the quickest path to getting answers, he doesn’t hold back. It makes for a thrilling, action-packed continuation of Smith’s dark, blood-soaked story that has us eagerly anticipating the next chapter.

THOMAS JOYCE

Publisher: Twisted Publishing
Paperback: 254pp
Release Date: 20 July 2020

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