Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE LONG WAY DOWN by Craig Schaefer

Craig Schaefer The Long Way Down

I try to keep up with everything being published, but it’s gotten harder with all the ebook publications that have sprung up. One of the series I missed when it first debuted is Craig Schaefer’s Dan Faust fantasy series, but I’m catching up.

Dan Faust is an interesting character, a real-live mage who sometimes does street magic to pay the bills in Las Vegas. We meet him in the first book, The Long Way Down, which actually sounds like it could be the title of a Raymond Chandler novel. Chandler’s iconic private eye, Philip Marlowe, was one of Schaefer’s inspirations for his Faust character. Faust is just coming out of a broken relationship, too many booze-filled nights, and a slowdown in business.

Faust’s major occupation is revenge for hire. If a client can prove the person they want revenge on deserves getting Faust’s brand of justice, and they can meet the price, Faust can deliver on revenge that’s merely a financial crisis, a loss of public image, or even death.

I had a really good time with this book. Schaefer’s prose is easy to read, the plot is twisty but not overly complicated, and he brings in the backstory of the character and the world of magic pretty well. The reveals on Faust’s history and how he’d come to be where he is read well and are interesting.

Overall, the book has a definite Raymond Chandler vibe to it. There are bad guys doing nefarious stuff and it ties back to some of Vegas’s history, some to the main character’s history, and some that develops organically. The pacing is good and kept me flipping the pages throughout, wanting to know what was going to happen next even though most readers can put it together easily enough.

I like Faust’s “family” but they’re not as strongly developed in this novel as I would have liked. However, this is the first book of a series, so there’s time to get to all of that. They’re definitely an interesting mix.

The love interest in the book threw me off a little. The attraction seemed to come out of nowhere (at least to me) on both their parts. The decision to get together (even though there is a TON of reasons not to do it) felt more an author’s decision than an organic thing that developed. There was plenty of reason for them to work together without the romance so the relationship side of things could be developed at a slower pace. Even the acceptance by Faust’s family would have had more time to come into its own and not feel as contrived.

Overall, I had a good time with the book and have picked up the next one to read as well. Since the book is self-pubbed, I have to wonder why New York would have passed on this one. It will definitely appeal to the same audience who reads Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs.

The formatting and grammar in the book are as impeccable as that beautiful cover. So if you’ve become wary of self-pubbed books due to editing mistakes, rest assured this one is very well done.

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