Firewalk is a novel by Chris Roberson. I thought it was a standalone, but the ending states it will be continued in the next book, Firewalkers. However, no other title is listed yet on Goodreads.
This supernatural thriller story was published on October 18, 2016 by Night Shade Books.
A modern-day supernatural crime thriller set in a fictional west coast city, from the New York Times bestselling author and co-creator of the comic book-turned hit TV show iZombie.
Izzie Lefevre was the newest investigator for the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit when she first came to Recondito, a coastal city that’s been shrouded in mystery and legend for centuries. Local law enforcement had requested the Bureau’s assistance in hunting a sword-wielding serial killer who’d left a dozen mutilated bodies in his wake. Patrick Tevake was a local homicide detective assigned to the taskforce, and together he and Izzie managed to track down and stop the killer before he claimed another victim.
Five years later, Izzie and Patrick remain haunted by what the killer said before he fell in a hail of gunfire. Izzie’s ancestors were “mambos,” voodoo priestesses who claimed to communicate with the dead and protect the faithful from evil spirits. Patrick’s Polynesian great uncle told stories of Recondito’s supernatural menaces that lurk in flame and shadow. The killer’s last words have brought up a past both Izzie and Patrick thought they’d long since left behind, and neither has been able to shake the feeling that their case was never completely solved.
So when Patrick, now working with the vice squad to investigate a dangerous new street drug, discovers a connection between the street drug and the serial killer’s victims, he realizes that their instincts were right: the threat is far from over. Reunited again, he and Izzie will discover that Recondito is a city of dark secrets, and their own pasts may be the key to unlocking them.
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Jen’s Review of FIREWALK
Quick Review: A mashup of so many things that my head spun, but generally an interesting story, mainly because of the investigative process.
I don’t know if “supernatural crime thriller” is enough to describe Firewalk. It’s a mix of crime thriller, horror, mystery, and supernatural book. The author tried to cram too many things into one book. He works in multiple occult beliefs, religions, magical practices, and folklore. One mythology would have been sufficient because there is so much other stuff being squished into the story like physics, technology, medicine, drugs, history, etc.. There are zombies, drug dealers, cults, and more. It was just too much for me.
It seemed like the author struggled to make everything fit together, in some cases having to force the connections. Maybe that wouldn’t have bothered me so much if the author hadn’t gone into long descriptions about practically every element that got added into the story, which at times seemed contrived. For example, what is the likelihood that the detective knows enough history about a particular location to explain it to the main character, Izzie, at length–so much so that it takes like 4 pages to explain it? The setting details drag on, in more than one place in the book. I made a note at one point that it sounded like a travel guide. Then, right after that, I asked myself why I had been given a long history lesson. These types of details needed to be worked in, not dumped in huge chunks like they were.
The author takes forever to get around to making the characters address certain questions. At the beginning, the killer mentioned a student who would have been the last victim. The characters never come back around to the student until the book is almost over. Another time, there was a question about what caused something, but we already knew the answer, but the answer was forgotten or ignored by the characters.
The characters were pretty boring. I appreciated that the main character was an African-American lesbian, which made her less cookie-cutterish. But, she doesn’t have a lot of personality. Also, the characters didn’t react naturally. For example, after seeing a zombie, the characters go about their normal lives and don’t even talk about it until much later. And when they do talk about, it’s clinical. They act like it’s not a big deal to see a dead person get up and walk around. Unusual, yes, but not cause for concern.
Another unnatural reaction I saw was when Izzie told people to hit the druggie “as hard as you can. Try to snap his neck” (location 1737). At the time, she believed the person was just hyped up on drugs. So, why would she say this? That’s nowhere near what someone in law enforcement would actually do to apprehend a criminal.
Also, if there was a pattern of people who had holes in their brains, why wasn’t the CDC ever called? It seems to me to be a logical step for a cornorer to take, but it never happened, not even when more victims showed up with this same problem. It also aggravated me that it took forever for them to ask the question about if Ink was causing the holes. They acted like this was a big a-ha moment, when it was painfully obvious and any idiot would have asked this much sooner.
The only thing that saved this book for me was the investigative process the characters used.
Something I’ve Learned
I learned a lot reading this book because it’s so crammed with information. One thing I thought was interesting was Clarke’s Law. The author states it is “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” (location 2800).
Do I Recommend?
Not really, but it’s up for you to decide. Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon are mixed. Most people got upset because of the to-be-continued cliffhanger.
If you’re up for a book that goes on and on about history, geography, and more, then you could give this a try to see how the characters try to figure out the mystery of what caused a man to go crazy and kill his academic colleagues, amongst questions about zombies, a new street drug called INK, and more.
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (C)
*This was my January Take a Chance book. I had never read anything by Chris Roberson before. I’m not likely to read another book by him, but I wasn’t totally disappointed with it.*
Have you read FIREWALK or any other books by Chris Roberson? What did you think?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments.