The Liminal Man

The Liminal Man: Book Two of the Monochrome Trilogy by Todd Keisling (June 1, 2021)

WELCOME TO THE SPACES IN BETWEEN

Originally published in 2012, Todd Keisling’s The Liminal Man continues the existential journey of everyman, Donovan Candle, as he works alongside his brother to track a sadistic, otherworldly killer. Bloodshot Books is proud to present this revised and expanded edition, featuring the second installment of Keisling’s all-new afterword series, “Who is Donovan Candle?”

FADE IN

A year and a half after the horrific events of A Life Transparent, Donovan Candle has worked to redefine himself and find his place in the world. He has a new job, he’s finished his novel, and his wife, Donna, has a baby on the way. Life for Mr. Candle is good, or so he wants to believe—yet the threat of the Monochrome is ever present, and lately, is manifesting in troubling ways.

FADING OUT

Working as a private investigator alongside his brother, Donovan witnesses a startling number of Missing Persons cases occurring around the city. Those missing are all in their early twenties, there one day and gone the next, vanished from their jobs, their homes, their families. The signs are too familiar for Donovan to ignore, and when several young men and women are discovered brutally murdered, his worst fears are confirmed.

FADE AWAY

At first, he’s hesitant to act, but when Donna’s nephew is abducted by the suspected killer, Donovan realizes he has no choice but to face his fears. This time there is more at stake than his own existence, and doing the right thing may come at a terrible price…

The IndieMuse Review

In my review of the first book of the Monochrome Trilogy (A Life Transparent) I praised the novel as being “action-packed and unique, defying definition and expectation” and praised its “broad appeal and likeable characters.” A Life Transparent provided a satisfying conclusion to Donovan Candle’s story and I was intrigued to see where Todd Keisling took the character next.

Set eighteen months after the life-changing events of book one, Donovan Candle has made drastic changes to his life. Now working with his brother as a private detective, he seems like a changed man; actively avoiding the dreary routines and daily grind that landed him in the dreaded Monochrome over a year ago. He is still plagued, however, by doubt and self-loathing.

When he and his brother take on a case to locate a number of missing children, Donovan begins to suspect that there is a link between their disappearance and the ordeal he went through himself. Not daring to voice his concerns to his loved ones, he embarks upon an investigation of his own, and what he finds puts both himself and his family in danger from a familiar old enemy.

Those who read book one and come into book two expecting Donovan Candle to be a completely new character, who has forsaken his old life and is now an ultra-confident man of action, rest assured that he is still the flawed and relatable character we know and love. While he has made a lot of positive changes, he is still plagued by self-doubt and this drives a lot of what follows in this follow up. I was glad to see he was still the same character I grew so attached to in A Life Transparent as he is the glue that holds this series together and is still a joy to read whenever he is on the page.

Where A Life Transparent put the focus squarely on Donovan, The Liminal Man feels much bigger in scope, splitting its time more with new characters (mainly Donovan’s nephew, who becomes embroiled in these latest adventures). There is also a great deal more time spent with the villain, Albert Sparrow, who was a major highlight of the first book and gets a much bigger role to play here.

While the Monochrome trilogy reads like a slice of life sci-fi epic, those who know Todd Keisling from his more overtly horror-based works will find more to enjoy here as well. A few unpleasant scenes of torture, strong body horror elements and the nightmarish creatures that stalk the Monochrome all give plenty for horror fans to enjoy here.

The Liminal Man is everything you want from a follow-up book. More action, bigger stakes, bolder set-pieces, this is a blisteringly paced book not tied down with the same burden of introducing characters and world-building that A Life Transparent was, allowing the reader to get straight into the action that does not let up until the epilogue, which sets up an interesting new status quo going into book three.  The trilogy will close out in September 2021 with Nonentity and I will be counting the days until I can find out the final fate of Donovan Candle.

RICHARD MARTIN

Richard started reading horror books at a young age, starting with R L Stine’s ‘Goosebumps’ and ‘Point Horror’ series. He traumatised himself at the age of twelve when he read Stephen King’s ‘IT’, and never looked back. He is currently based in the UK, where he lives with his partner, and an inappropriate amount of books.

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