Friday, 29 November 2013

Path of Night by Dirk Flinthart

Path of Night by Dirk Flinthart is the author's longest published work (ie first novel) to date. I'm sure I've read some of his short stories before, but apparently not since I started reviewing here. Blurb:
Michael Devlin is the first of a new breed. The way things are going, he may also be the last.

Being infected with an unknown disease is bad. Waking up on a slab in a morgue wearing nothing but a toe-tag is worse, even if it comes with a strange array of new abilities.

Medical student Michael Devlin is in trouble. With his flatmates murdered and an international cabal of legendary man-monsters on his trail, Devlin's got nowhere to hide. His only allies are a hot-tempered Sydney cop and a mysterious monster-hunter who may be setting Devlin up for the kill. If he's going to survive, Devlin will have to embrace his new powers and confront his hunters. But can he hold onto his humanity when he walks the Path of Night?
Path of Night follows Devlin, a med student with bad luck. After being murdered and coming back from the dead, he discovers that a) he needs to eat a lot of food now, b) he has super senses and super speed and c) a bunch of people are trying to kill him. His side of the story is very much centred about not dying and getting through the day.

The other point of view character is Jen, a Sydney cop who starts out investigating the homicide Devlin was caught up in. From her point of view we see a bit of police internal politics, some investigation and then, well, then the story catches up with Devlin and everything gets a bit crazy.

The pacing in this novel is brilliant. It's not a short read, but even though it took me a while to get through (because life etc) it was sufficiently well-paced that it felt like it would be a quick read. It wasn't all action all the time, but there was never a dull moment. I felt I always wanted to know what happened next, even when the point of view switched away from Devlin and Jen to the characters on the other side of the equation.

This is the first book in a series, and I have to admit I wasn't sure how it would play out, in terms of setting up the next book, until I got to the end. It didn't really feel like a book one, and I say that in the best possible way. I wasn't sure who would survive or in what form the series would continue (until the end when the premise of the next book was seemingly set up).

I also loved that it was set in Sydney. Living overseas as I am for the time being, I have been really appreciating books with Australian settings. Particularly ones which feel authentic, as Path of Night does (occasional references to "sidewalks" notwithstanding). I kind of want to take a tour of those tunnels next time I'm in Sydney. I wouldn't have known they existed otherwise. The tourism bureau should pay Flinthart a commission. ;-)

Path of Night was an excellent read and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book and anything else I see of the author's. I highly recommend it to fans of urban fantasy and contemporary horror, especially the more action-filled variety. Readers looking for an Australian setting (or a non-US setting, heh) are also advised to give Path of Night a shot.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: October 2013, FableCroft Publishing
Series: yes. Night Beast book 1 of ?
Format read: eARC
Source: The lovely publisher
Challenges: Aussie Horror Reading Challenge


  1. I enjoyed the sheer silliness of it, the way he played with standard thriller cliches and the almost "noir" cop.

    1. Yes! And the "covert ops" guy. Te sheer magnitude of some of the crap they (all) pulled...

  2. Damn! I thought we'd lost all the bloody 'sidewalks'.

    But look - thank you. I went out on a bit of a limb here, writing an urban horror/thriller piece in what is a rather Australian tone, with a distinctively Australian setting. Personally, I'm a bit over reading things like that in the inevitable neutral/American voice, and I thought it might be a nice change to put a local spin on it. I'm glad it's been well received.

    And Sue -- yup. There's definitely some silliness. But I hope it comes naturally, from a relatively normal person suddenly thrown into the deep end and surrounded by things that he only recognises from movies and pulp fiction.

    Actually, I think that's an interesting point. We're used to reading and seeing these things, and we're used to our heroes simply accepting their situation. They may be frightened, or angry, but they never seem to realise the absurd unlikeliness of their situation.

    My limited personal experience of events that go kind of pear-shaped showed me that all kinds of mad things go through your mind when, say, you're trying to get the car back under control, or running away from an angry tiger snake. Perhaps it's just me... but I thought it was worthwhile putting it on paper.

    1. I also quite liked how someone at least stopped to consider the collateral damage to Sydney. I feel like that doesn't get addressed nearly enough in action plots.


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