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The Awake in the Dark Series - Books 1-3 (The Awake in the Dark Series Box Set) by [McBain, Tim, Vargus, L.T.]
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The Awake in the Dark Series - Books 1-3 (The Awake in the Dark Series Box Set) Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Length: 674 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English
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Product Description

The first three novels in the series that readers are describing as "so dark and so funny."

A 27 year old slacker has seizures during which he may or may not be astral projecting. What he learns might have the power to change the world.

One second JEFF GROBNAGGER is standing in line at the grocery store, and the next he's in an alley where a hooded figure strangles him to death.

So that sucks.

This happens over and over again, every time Grobnagger has a seizure. Alley. Choking. Death. Repeat. What for? Why would anyone want to kill him repeatedly? Is it just a recurring seizure dream? When a sniper's bullet shatters his apartment window, he realizes two things: he's in serious danger, and there's no way he's getting his security deposit back.

Who is the hooded man? And who tried to kill Grobnagger in real life? His quest for answers leads to a missing girl, cults obsessed with astral projection, an arcane puzzle sphere, an evil book, a private detective named Louise and a mustached man named Glenn that makes the most delicious food he's ever tasted.

No one he meets is who they seem, and every answer leads to more questions, more seizures and more horrific deaths that may or may not be transpiring on some mysterious plane beyond the physical world.

Scroll up and hit LOOK INSIDE to check out the first few chapters.


All Jeff Grobnagger wanted was to be left alone. The events of Fade to Black (Awake in the Dark #1) shifted his goal from a life of solitude to figuring out what the hell is happening to him ASAP, so he can, you know, get back to the solitude.

His journey takes another twist when a burned corpse sporting a League of Light robe turns up in a vacant lot. Working undercover to solve the murder reveals bigger and bigger clues about his seizures. Solve the murder, solve the seizures? Maybe. He meets new people and is shown new places on the other side. But who and what can he trust? Just as he realizes that someone close may be working against him, he gets blindsided by the biggest shock yet.


The events of the first two books leave Grobnagger drained, often struggling to stay awake. He shuffles through life half awake, half tethered to reality. He still has no idea what is happening to him, but he's not sure he even cares anymore.

When those that mean him harm finally begin to assert themselves, however, Grobnagger finds himself and his friends under direct threat of death. Plans are made to cross over and rescue Amity once and for all from her vulnerable position in the other world. But his adversaries are one step ahead and a violent spectacle becomes inevitable.

Praise for the Awake in the Dark series:

"Fade to Black is the funniest book I've read in... I can't remember how long. Seriously funny. I think I laughed out loud roughly once every three pages. That's a lot of funny packed into one book! And not just an internal chuckle here and there, but an honest to goodness laugh out loud that made my significant other call, 'What?' from the next room repeatedly." - Lisbeth Ames

"I don't normally give five stars, but "Fade to Black" gets five stars from me for one reason: I haven't been this excited about a book in a long time. As I mentioned earlier, I am eagerly awaiting the second novel in the series, because I have to see what happens. It kind of reminds of the feeling I got the first time I watched Lost, the TV series. It feels like my eyes have been opened to a universe of possibilities, and I cannot wait to see how McBain and Vargus explore that world." - E. Branden Hart,

"Chuck Palahniuk (crossed with) the Dean Koontz Odd Thomas series." - Drunkle Dan, The Drunken Beardsmen podcast

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2548 KB
  • Print Length: 674 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #168,811 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Read this series. It will be the best thing you do.

It’s not often that I read a story that hits me like the Awake in the Dark series has. There’s just something about it; a wonderful concoction of suspense, hilarity and amazingly layered characters.

Meet Grobs; Awake in the Dark series’ leading man. He’s an introvert, an unsuspecting hero, and a guy so in need of pep talk you’ll be rooting for him until the very last page, every time.

Jeff Grobnagger begins his journey in an alley, tied by his ankle and awaiting his death from the Hooded Man. He’s been there before, over and over again, each time meeting his demise. That’s just chapter one of book one. You’ll be hooked by the first paragraph, or at least by the time Grobs begins stroking a dead dog’s corpse while hiding in a dumpster.

He’s the guy that can’t catch a break, and the guy who just wants to sit in his small bubble eating a jar of pickles. The hardest part about reading Grobs’ story, is how deeply he resonates within you. In book one, you’ll fall in love. By book two, you’ll come to realise that you and he are the same person. By book three, you’ll give your left leg to make him real, just so the two of you can sit alone, in the dark, eating peanut butter off a spoon.

Grobs is what makes this series magnificent. He hides behind his satirical nature, always surprising you with his deeply philosophical thoughts. Layer, upon layer, he’ll get to you, right in the feels.

However, before I continue harping on about my newest fictional character obsession, or decide I need to start a fan-fiction series, I'm going to talk about the way this series is written.

McBain and Vartgus have thrown together an imaginative tale with an edge. There’s no fluff here.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a great little series that I recommend EVERYONE should read! Follow the story of Jeff Grabnagger, a loner you suffers seizures that appear to transport him to another realm where nothing makes since. Pursued by a shadowy cult of New Agers and enlisted by an overly positive man in the hunt for his daughter who also was involved with the cult, Jeff soon finds himself over his head and out of his depth.

Taking you through a surreal, twisting plot that explores human nature and mysticism while blending in a fair amount of theoretical physics and pseudo-science, The Awake in the Dark series is cleverly written, very reminiscent of Dean Koontz in style without the sometimes heavy lifting required to read his work, you WILL find yourself unable to put these down, as you slowly fall in love with what should be a thoroughly unlikable main character, as the twists and turns take you winding down a path that is TRULY unexpected. Every book will leave you scrambling for more, and take it from someone who has been reading since book 1, this 3 in 1 deal is PERFECT! Clear your week, and delve into the world of murder, intrigue, magic and science (Science Magic?!?) that is the life of Jeff Grabnagger, the most believable un-reluctant hero to come along in literature in such a long time!

A truly refreshing experience for someone who is wide read and is looking for something truly different!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.9 out of 5 stars 139 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some books change us 1 May 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Some books change us. They wiggle inside and stir things up. You come out from reading them fundamentally changed.

I bought this set on a whim -- hey, cool, gritty paranormal, why not? -- and I cannot imagine sitting here right now without having read these.

Jeff Grobnagger is me. That's how I felt reading these. There are things he admits, things he talks about, things in his perception of the world that are so familiar, it was physically painful to read them.

I loved every minute of it.

I kept finding myself swiping a big, fat highlights onto paragraphs (I very rarely highlight books, and these three books are full of them) and saying to myself: "Holy crap. Someone else feels that way?", "I do that. Probably not a good thing.", "Ouch, dude. Way to destroy my denial." I had a ton of revelations about myself, faced demons even as Grobnagger was doing the same, and these books primed me to face more demons after I was finished reading them. That sounds hokey, but seriously -- the raw honesty inside these books changed me fundamentally.

How many books do that?

The writing is deeply introspective, philosophical, and perceptive, yet not remotely pretentious. I was captivated, pained, fascinated, excited, and amused (greatly -- lots of awkward laugh-out-loud moments around people).

The paranormal story just made all of that introspective stuff even better. The action balanced all that thinking.

I read a ton, but I rarely do I feel a need to read a sequel -- these have me hooked, pure and simple. Drank the Kool-aid willingly and with gusto, and I will continue to do so. I can see how some people wouldn't be into this style of writing, but for the right people, these books are gold.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Potential start but crashes in the end 14 January 2017
By D. Goss - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'll give the first three books in the series a decent rating because they honestly did seem to be going somewhere. The story had potential. The main protagonist is someat annoying but it had potential. The while thing fell apart in books four and five however. They were interminably long winded and the main character just became a whiney little ass. There was zero actual story development. It felt like the author's were just trying to fill up space. Book five was horrible! The story could easily have ended at book four and I would have been satisfied but no, they dragged it out and I ended up skipping paragraphs because it all essentially said the same thing. "Poor me, my life is crap and I'm depressed. I could do something about it but I'd rather last on my couch and whine in my head.". That is essentially the whole fifth book and it takes him going into a mystical blue light to realize life is OK. He could have just gone to a psychiatrist like every other person in the world. Made me wish I never started reading this drivel
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Humorous Occult Mystery and Thriller Series 30 May 2015
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Overall the series is well written and humorous and leaves you wanting more while actually wrapping up quite nicely. I don't want to give too much away, which is why I'm trying to carefully word this. The occult concepts are interesting and obviously researched, which is not something you often see in books of this nature. I usually find the background of occult books are vaguely hinting at some religious nonsense but this series seemed to have a good grasp of why someone might do certain things. The only thing I felt disappointed in was that certain characters just felt a need to divulge too much or really accept things that seemed out of character for them. However Jeff's (the main character ) self deprecating humor adds the light hearted moments books of this nature need and so I didn't dwell too much on other minor character defects. Get the entire series don't waste your time buying one at a time you will want to read this as a whole rather than in parts.

*I was approached to read this by Tim McBain, I don't know him personally and he did not ask for a review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These books are amazing! The characters are so true to life, I identified with Grobnagger to the point of being his twin sister! 24 November 2015
By Ms. Knohmer - Published on
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I've only just finished the first novel in this series, but I just couldn't wait to finish all three to sing Tim McBain's praises!! I absolutely LOVE the way this author writes!! I *AM* GROBNAGGER!! I have truly never identified more with a fictional character in a book. I see a therapist for my PTSD and I saved a ton of Notes from this book that were so "ME"! And, they were written and explained in words I couldn't find to express myself... my therapist and I went over them and discussed them at length. They gave me a lot of insight to myself, and gave her a clearer image of things I needed to express about myself and work on. I'm getting ready to start on to the next two!! Please write more Grobnagger stories!!! ♥ My therapist enjoyed the writing as much as I did and is going to buy these novels, too!! She was also quite impressed by the insightful writing and the life-like characters. She's one of those uber smart PHDs and she said it was great that I was finding books that I could clearly relate to so well that they were helping me in my PTSD journey. She had to giggle when I came to the Note about paddling my turd up s*** creek. :D I just HAD to save that one. lol Still makes me giggle.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fun and funny, absurd, heartbreaking, awful, and beautiful 18 April 2015
By elfshanx - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So far, this has been an incredible series. Grobnagger's story isn't just fluff and filler with cool magical fights and mystical powers you can escape into. It forces you to consider the world differently, take a deeper look. It searches for the meaning in life and the meaning in all of us. It's fun and funny, absurd, heartbreaking, awful, and beautiful. I'm going to be devastated when this ride is over, but I can tell I'm also going to feel like I learned something, like I grew as a person, and be glad I read the Awake in the Dark series.

Now for the individual books:


I used to have a friend who would say "This hurts like real life" when a book or comic hit on something particularly truthful. That was the highest compliment he could give a book. For me, Fade to Black hurts just like real life. Jeff Grobnagger, our narrator and very reluctant hero, is trapped in that ironic detachment so prevalent in our generation, trying desperately to stay away from relationships of any kind--friendship, dating, random social interaction, you name it. There were times while reading when I cringed because I've heard myself and some of my friends voice the things Grobnagger says. There's a moment near the middle of the book that made my stomach hurt it was so real.

All of that said, Fade to Black isn't some long-winded psychological rumination of a chronic sad-sack. It's full of action and Grobnagger's narration is hilarious. There are going to be times while reading this that you find yourself laughing even while he's breaking your heart. That old saying about writers sitting down at their typewriters and bleeding? McBain and Vargus nailed that, but also somehow managed to be funny and keep the pace fast. For a book that takes such a hard look at self-loathing, isolation, and emotional responsibility, Fade to Black sure has a lot of kick-a** fight scenes...and magic...and other cool stuff I can't tell you about without spoiling it. I'm only giving it five stars because I'm not allowed to give it more.


Like Fade to Black, the places Bled White really shined for me were Grobnagger's moments of heartbreaking vulnerability. Grobs is an awesome narrator. He's hilarious, he's making a self-effacing joke, a wry observation about farmers markets or the use of the word "bro," doing the nonchalant shrug, then BAM!--he's twisting the knife in your chest just by eating pickles or sitting on the couch in the dark. Grobnagger is trying to grow and change, but his fear of rejection and abandonment just keeps dragging him back into existential meaninglessness. He finds a shiny new way to escape the dark, but the people who've gotten closest to him--a pretty serious feat considering his attempts in FTB to avoid any and all relationships--start to notice that something's not right.

Meanwhile, things with the League of Light are going crazy. People on all sides of Grobnagger start pushing and pulling him toward ends he doesn't really care about and doesn't want to be caught up in. Grobs just wants to be left alone, but destiny or murderers or his girlfriend or something won't let him.

Altogether, Bled White is even more fun and heart-wrenching than Fade to Black. It builds exponentially on the previous book. And, as a side note, Tim McBain and LT Vargus have some of the best endings I've ever read. Once you read the last sentence of Bled White, you'll see what I'm talking about.


When you're reading a series with characters who grow and change, and worlds that develop and are either saved or lost or at the very least finally understood, you expect one of the books (usually the middle one) to be a building book. You know, where not much happens, but things start to get set up for the Big Finale. Not so with the Awake in the Dark series. So much happens in Red on the Inside that it's hard to talk about without dropping a ton of spoilers. I can say, "HOLY COW, IT'S SO CRAZY WHEN--" or "IT KILLED ME WHEN--" but I don't want to ruin even the smallest thing for you. Suffice to say that if you liked Fade to Black and Bled White, you're going to love Red on the Inside. There's action, intrigue, debilitating sadness, the search for meaning, and even a glimpse of what might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Grobnagger.

The thing I love most about Grobs is that he isn't some stationary character who gets fed all the answers and then miraculously saves the day. He's like us. When nothing makes sense, he gets frustrated. When the people he's come to love betray him, he gets hurt. Sometimes he even thinks it would be easier to just give up. Jeff Grobnagger is a real person. He gets tired of all the crap and just wants something--anything--to work out or to make sense. He wants there to be some kind of meaning to life, but he's afraid there isn't.

As much of a downer as I'm making Red on the Inside sound like, these feelings of pointlessness and defeat are rendered in absurd trips to Chili's, drunk dudes trying to cross over into the white world without falling on their faces, and conversations with mysterious disembodied voices. Enemies lash out in horrifying ways, do unforgivable things, and then paint themselves as the better man. And who knows? Maybe they are. And the ending...the ending will cut your heart out in a way that also, weirdly, makes you feel a little bit better about the world. Which is exactly what fans have come to expect from McBain and Vargus.

My point is that Red on the Inside isn't just some throwaway building book to get you psyched about the series's Big Finish. It's a complex story unto itself, completely different from the previous two books, but still unmistakably the next step in Grobnagger's journey. I can't wait to find out what happens next. The whole gang has come so far that life can never be the same for any of them. Where will Grobs go from here?