Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review - Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman by Jim Bernheimer (4/5 stars)


I got this book from the author in exchange for an honest review :-)   I really enjoyed it a lot; it's a great paranormal ghost action story that is fast paced and creative. 

Mike Ross returned from fighting in Iraq less an eye and with some hearing loss.  His eye is replaced with a donor eye upon his return home.  There is only one thing wrong, now he is seeing ghosts with his new eye.  As if life for a recuperating vet wasn't tough enough, now Mike's got ghosts hunting him down because they want him.  Apparently Mike is a rare type of person called a Ferryman; a Ferryman hasn't existed in the States for over a century and he is plunged into the dangerous world of ghostly politics.

This was a really good book.  The book is broken into thirteen episodes.  Initially each episode deals with Mike solving a ghostly mystery and the episodes are somewhat contained.  As the story continues there begins to be more of an over-arcing story that ties everything together.  The book is nicely wrapped up but has a couple loose threads that need to be answered in another novel.

In the beginning the writing is a bit rough and the characters a bit over-characterized, but after the first couple episodes Bernheimer really hits his stride.  Mike isn't the most likable character; he is crass, prone to anger, and in some ways your typical ex-army guy, yet Bernheimer gives Mike a noble streak that makes Mike likable and real.

The idea of Mike seeing the dead with his implanted eye and the whole way Mike interacts with the ghost-world was very well done and creative.  I really enjoyed learning about it.  Again, Bernheimer does a great job of making Mike's interaction with the dead reasonable and believable.  The plot is non-stop and propels the reader forward making the book hard to put down and the action scenes are really well done.  Bernheimer does a great job throwing in some dry humor to keep things from getting too serious.

I have a couple small complaints; Berheimer's characterization of women is a bit rough at times.  Most of the female characters are annoying as all get out and a bit cliched.  This was something that got better as the book continued.  The female characters introduced later in the novel were more reasonable and interesting.  Bernheimer did do an excellent job characterizing the male characters.  Also in the beginning of the book I thought some of the language felt a bit forced and the characters were a little over done; this is also something the went away after the first couple chapters.

Overall this was a great read and a lot of fun.  I really enjoyed Bernheimer's take on ghosts and interactions with them.  I think this is a start to a wonderful new series and really look forward to reading the next book in this series.  Bernheimer is definitely a writer to keep an eye on; he has some great ideas and a fun writing style to read.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- 1st in a Series Reading Challenge
- Thiller and Suspense Challenge

Dead Eye: Pennies for the Ferryman 

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