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Recall Night: An Eli Carver Supernatural Thriller - Book 2 (2) Paperback – 25 August 2020
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Back from self-imposed exile in Canada where he fled to avoid the law following the blood-stained events in Manifest Recall–the first installment of award-winning author Alan Baxter’s latest supernatural thriller series–Eli Carver returns to the states with thoughts of starting over. But an accidental encounter on a train with a mysterious woman, one he soon learns has her own dangerous past, threatens to unravel his well-intended plans.
Upon their arrival in New York, the duo quickly find themselves entangled in an ongoing war between two rival crime syndicates. And with the ghosts of his own past continuing to torment him, Eli finds himself taking the darkest of turns as he’s drawn down a perilous path into a world of ancient religion and deadly occult rituals.
“Eli Carver is back with a vengeance! That’s bad news for some but good news for readers. Recall Night is brutal, gritty fun and a phenomenal follow-up to Manifest Recall.” — Brian Keene, author of The Complex
"Eli Carver is back with a vengeance! That's bad news for some but good news for readers. RECALL NIGHT is brutal, gritty fun and a phenomenal follow-up to MANIFEST RECALL." -- Brian Keene, author of The Complex
"Alan Baxter's fiction is dark, disturbing, hard-hitting and heart-breakingly honest. He reflects on worlds known and unknown with compassion, and demonstrates an almost second-sight into human behaviour." -- Kaaron Warren, Shirley Jackson Award-winner and author of The Grief Hole
"Alan Baxter is an accomplished storyteller who ably evokes magic and menace." -- Laird Barron, author of Swift to Chase
"Alan's work is reminiscent of that of Clive Barker and Jim C. Hines, but with a unique flavour all of its own." -- Angela Slatter, World Fantasy, British Fantasy and Aurealis Award winner
- Publisher : Grey Matter Press (25 August 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 162 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1950569055
- ISBN-13 : 978-1950569052
- Dimensions : 13.34 x 0.94 x 20.32 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 291,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top reviews from Australia
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There was painful tightening of the trousers when I heard Alan was working on a new Eli Carver novella. Manifest Recall worked incredibly well by mashing up elements of gritty crime fiction alongside Baxter’s trademark supernatural flair. With Recall Night the tormented trigger-happy protagonist is back, unloading pain and suffering on the scum of the underworld. This time Carver travels to New York where he becomes entangled in a web of corruption and dark rituals. Carver doesn’t look for trouble, trouble looks for him.
Not much changes with Recall Night when compared to its predecessor, and I’m happy with that. Eli’s ghosts continue to plague him; offering witty exchanges between Carver and each other to great effect. Bones snap with a viscous crunch, heads explode in seas of red mist and the fast-pacing a make for a fun, gory time.
It is testament to Baxter’s worldly knowledge of fighting that the action scenes are so well written (he is a martial arts expert and teacher). He sure knows how to write a pulse-pounding, bone-cracking action scene that makes for a series of frantic set pieces rivalling anything I’ve read before.
The novella format works well with Eli’s journey. A novel might be a bit too much as the plot is fairly straightforward and offers few surprises. Still, I’m not here for the world building, I want dramatic fight scenes, a high body count and a solid cast. Baxter delivers in spades.
With a third book already in the works, Eli’s journey seems far from over. I hope his ghosts play a more prominent part in future books. By giving them more page space I’m convinced the series can be steered into even darker waters.
I’m really enjoying Carver’s bloody journey. And so…
4/5 close encounters from the Grim Reader.
Well worth a read.
Think of Eli as a "Jack Reacher" type of guy - has the look, the muscle, the moves, and the guns.
Eli has spent two years in exile, fleeing from the police and looking for redemption from the macabre events that took place in Manifest Recall.
Unfortunately for Eli, he meets a beautiful woman with a dangerous past. As the two get closer Eli ends up back facing the mob.
This is where things turn into a shooting match, blood soaked, violent mess.
What entertained me the most in this book was Eli's supernatural "friends". I think they were hell bent on tormenting Eli for his previous lack of indiscretions and their far from subtle one liners were quite amusing.
And they weren't the only supernatural entities in this book. I'm not sure how I felt about the introduction of the occult rituals but the characters involved made it creepy and preternatural.
"Supernatural horror" doesn't quite fit the Eli Carver story for me. I prefer to use thriller/horror with supernatural themes.
I will now await the third book in the Eli Carver series.
Top reviews from other countries
In many ways it is a great continuation of the character from the first book. He is just as pragmatic as ever, never more evident than when he finds himself in confrontation with a man or group of men. When he is cornered and has no other way out, he will kill without hesitation. It is easy to like Eli as a character, with his newly discovered moral code and his dedication to protecting the innocent and only harming those who he deems deserve it. But he is very much a cold-bloodied killer, something his ghostly entourage never fail to remind him about. They offer a modicum of levity that provides a balance with the dark moments of violence to great effect. But, more than that, they prove to be useful when Carver is in a tight spot, giving him a warning when an unseen attacker is ready to strike, seemingly disproving one of the theories regarding their appearance, that they are a manifestation of his guilt and pain over the loss of his family.
Upon Carver’s return to the U.S., he quickly becomes embroiled in a dispute between two New York crime organisations, thanks to a chance encounter with a female passenger on the train. Bridget Carlson is a professional gambler, eager to get away from the clutches of her criminal boss. But first she must pay a large gambling debt, and she needs some back-up. This is where Carver, in his new role as rōnin, comes in. Indeed, with the two warring crime gangs in a small part of New York and the entrance of Carver as an unknown gun-for-hire, and with him adopting this new persona, it is possible that classic Japanese samurai movie Yojimbo was an inspiration, if only slightly. And Baxter’s background as both competitor and teacher of martial arts comes into play when Carver is forced to fight unarmed. The choreography of the action sequences is described with just the right amount of detail, where we are never bogged down with needless descriptions of where Carver’s fist connects with his enemy, or overly descriptive macho language about injuries.
The appearance of mysterious and menacing voodoo practitioner Papa Night and sinister Cora Lombardi, wife of one of the crime bosses and more than just a gangster’s moll, add an extra dimension to the story. While book one and much of book two focus predominantly on the noir and action aspects of the story, these characters open the door to a supernatural, even cosmic, level of horror that adds more depth to the world of Eli Carver and his story. The true nature of his ghosts has been open to debate to this point, serving as both a reminder of the terrible crimes he has committed in the past, and foils for witty banter. But now we begin to wonder to the magnitude of the supernatural in the Eli Carver series, something that will hopefully be explored in future instalments, providing we are fortunate enough to see those books come to fruition.
In Grey Matter Press, Baxter seems to have found the perfect fit for this particular brand of his work. With authors such as John Foster, John F.D. Taff and Karen Runge also on their roster, they excel when publishing books with a thriller, supernatural or horror flavour. Or, indeed, a great mix of all of the above. And they have certainly scored another hit with Recall Night. Baxter and Grey Matter Press continue to prove a potent combination. Would an Eli Carver story work in a longer format? Possibly, but there is something to be said for presenting this storytelling style in a fast-paced, action-packed novella, especially with the promise of further Eli Carver adventures. Yet again, Baxter has delivered an exciting story with his enigmatic protagonist at the centre, and has succeeded in whetting our appetite for more supernatural thrills in the company of Eli Carver.
I'm pleased to say that Recall Night keeps up that form and builds upon the solid base the first book created.
A good deal of time has passed since the shootout at the end of Manifest Recall when we pick up Eli's story. He has been given a pardon by the gangster's daughter - now kingpin in her own right - and so sets out to return to the US after laying low in Canada.
Beginning with split timelines which ensure we are thrust into the action right away in one, while the set up is delivered in another, Recall Night digs deeper into who Eli Carver is. Indeed, the protagonist is on something of a journey of self discovery, which the reader is on board with.
After the first dirty job Eli agrees to do goes horribly wrong, a series of events which combine classic crime ingredients with even greater supernatural elements than in Carver's first outing play out at the same breakneck pace.
Hugely entertaining and one that only makes me hungrier for the next instalment.
I’d preordered it even before I’d read book one, and seeing how fun the first one was, I knew I’d dive into book two and read it in one sitting.
What I liked: Seeing as this is a sequel, Baxter has done a bang-up job of letting this be read with no prior knowledge to Book One. Carly Sykes makes an early appearance but then is mostly forgotten.
Sykes’ appearance is key though, as it sets the events in motion. Eli Carver is free and clear to return to the States from Canada, where he’s been holed up since the events from ‘Manifest Recall.’ It’s on his return trip to New York that he meets Bridget and agrees to help her out.
It’s from here Baxter goes full ‘John Wick,’ letting Carver stay alive while the layers of mob carnage continue to stack up.
Baxter is such an effortless storyteller, and as I mentioned in the review for book one, his fight scenes are sublime pieces of choreography.
Carver has become a character I truly root for, and his will and knack of surviving have made for some really fantastic segments.
What I didn’t like: As with book one, the ghosts he sees still come off completely unnecessary for me. I could almost see Eli Carver becoming a Jason Bourne-style character in an ongoing mob storyline, but the ghosts either need to leave or come to more fruition. The Papa Night character opened the door a bit, even if the sacrifice/occult scene came out of nowhere.
Why you should buy it: Baxter is a fantastic writer. Both of these books made for really enjoyable action-movie reads and Eli Carver is a truly fun character to follow along.
Baxter is one of my favorite authors and I’d love to see more in this world. I think if you check these two books out, you will as well!