Written by Joseph Nassise
Published by Tor Books
Jeremiah Hunt is the latest creation in the burgeoning young subgenre sometimes called “urban fantasy”. I’d call it “gritty paranormal detective”. I’m specifically speaking of Scott Johnson’s Stanley Cooper., Simon Green’s John Taylor, and now Joseph Nassise’s Jeremiah Hunt.
Hunt is a man who made a terrible mistake and is paying for it. His daughter vanished, and he struck a horrible bargain in an attempt to find her. He’s like a supernatural Daredevil: blind, but he can see with special powers granted by the same thing that took his sight. Now he sees the dead and other things from the other side of the spiritual realm. He makes his living helping people get free from the things he can see, and in the course of that effort he runs afoul of a mystery bigger than him that might just take him to the answer he seeks: the location of his missing daughter.
Eyes to See is a very dark novel. Most entries in the urban fantasy genre tend to have a light side, but this one really doesn’t. Hunt’s world is dark and evil, and he’s not exactly a bright sunny little flower himself. His journey in the book, then, takes a darker turn for the gritty than some.
In many ways this novel strikes me as a sum greater than its parts. There’s a bit of Whedon in here as Hunt collects a group to assist him in his battle. There’s a bit of Butcher in the nature of his gifts and his “job”. There’s more than a little Constantine from Hellblazer, especially the film version. In the end, though, Hunt and his tale are very entertaining and do not come off as derivative in any way. The best elements of his world are Whisper and Scream, his two ghostly guardians. Whisper is his conduit to all things otherworldly, while Scream is his mighty protector. By the time the tale is done, we learn more about these ghosts and their motives, and it’s handled brilliantly. Everything is important in Eyes to See; there’s no fat here at all. Everything is related, and it all comes together in a very entertaining way.
My one complaint is the ending. It’s not that it’s bad. It just didn’t go where I’d hoped. It opens the impending series up quite a bit but places our hero in a position that won’t allow him to continue roving around Boston solving supernatural crimes. It says something about the strength of the world Nassise created that I’m disappointed by the ending because while I’ll get more, it won’t be more of the same, and that’s what I want.
Eyes to See is a VERY fast read. Like I said, there’s not an ounce of fat on this one. Every single word matters, and that’s refreshing in these days of loosely edited stories with more subplots and unresolved plot holes than your average daytime soap opera. You’ll burn through it as quickly as Hunt burned through his eyesight.
It’s a fantastic start to what should be a great new series. Recommended highly.
4 1/2 out of 5