The Flashlighters - by Daniel Barnett
Updated: Jan 7, 2022
“I hate Barnett. I loathe his poetic prose, his flawless world-building, his f++king audacity to create compelling characters, it’s all vomit-inducing perfection," Said the thing with no face, just a mouth instead of a head, which stood outside of the truck. "The man needs teaching a lesson. You mark my words. Look me in the eye and tell me I’m wrong..."
John’s jaw ground, as Marco pushed his notepad forward onto John’s lap from his place in the back. In the mirror, John could see the worry Marco fought to contain, his whole body rigid. John’s eyes flicked down to the words that lay on the paper in an untidy jumble.
You feel that? Do you feel the tingle?
His teeth stopped still as if deciding the matter once and for all.
“You can’t exist. You’re the wrong side of real,” He whispered, as he brought the gun up and past Mariah, who instinctively leaned back, as he pulled the trigger.
The mouth had widened to a noiseless scream as it exploded, the eruption of blood and hate splattered the truck and drenched Mariah in a fountain of gore through her open window. The stench of rotten meat flooded the truck, to compete against their own hard-won odor, collected through the desert.
“Idiot opinions shouldn’t exist.”
And honestly, they just don’t. I can’t think of a worse nightmare than someone/something that isn’t in awe of Daniel’s series by now.
HAVE YOU NO TASTE!
Ok, so we have now laid waste to my own personal nightmare – my unbridled jealousy - of the solid writing and ability that Daniel shows in all of his books. I’m all the better for it now that that the damn thing’s dead. Shot in the face. Good to see it go down. Now I can just openly admit that writing, well, it just doesn't get much better than this.
The Flashlighters is a break from the relentless tension Barnett has injected into all of his books. In this fantastic inclusion to the series, we are presented with hope. It’s a great plot twist – not everything and every one the trio comes across is bad – there are good people out there. It’s something that I wasn’t expecting, I was as suspicious as John and Mariah when confronted with the group, but this is the beauty of Barnett’s writing – confounding the reader’s expectations. Daniel’s trademarks are all, once again, evident, from compelling action, poetic prose, fantastic character work, and sublime history and world-building, but this time the competing characters are allowed to shine through discourse. There is sarcasm popping up here – not everyone is as impressed with John as we are – yet he takes it in his stride. There are some lovely interactions between Mariah and Marcos that cement our love for them, and make John’s macho uncomfortableness shine.
Marcos is, of course, going to be devastated because of the revelations included in this book revolving around the leader of The Flashlighters, and what it means for him and the people he had gathered in the last book. THAT’S going to be a big story thread in the next book I think. What would have been possible.
When I started writing this review, I was pretty much like all of the other reviewers – what can I say that is in any way new? Given that this is the fourth book in an ongoing series of awesomeness, what is there left to say?
I can speculate on theories, of course. Has anyone else been thinking that the sad boy might be someone we didn’t actually see, but has been with us from the first book, the place where John was right at the beginning of the series – visiting… someone? Could John be the cause of the darkness in some way linked to that memory? John hasn’t seen the boy yet, and that Lullaby is very familiar? Might it have been one he used to send a certain someone to sleep? And trauma has erased it from his mind?
I enjoyed this a lot. It’s holding the same standard as all of the rest, this was never going to be getting less than a 5 out of 5⭐'s.
Daniel, keep on impressing me. That’s an expectation I don’t need confounding.
Onto the city of blood!
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