Review by Brennan LaFaro
It’s November and my brain has become conditioned to expect a new Eli Carver book from Alan Baxter and Grey Matter Press. When book three kicks off, Eli has settled into something of a comfortable life. Given how well we know Mr. Carver, not to mention the length of the book, that can’t last. Right?
Sure enough, Eli’s luck winds him back front and center in a sticky situation. These books have always showcased supernatural elements—it’s kind of a hinge of what makes the series unique—but the previous book, Recall Night, really did more than just dip toes in the water. Ghost Recall fully embraces the weird and otherworldly aspect, almost making it feel at times as though Carver is paying a visit to Gulpepper, Australia. (Don’t get the reference? Go read Baxter’s The Gulp. Like now.)
Baxter’s ability to write quick, exciting, and most importantly, clear fight scenes remains one of the writer’s top strengths. The reader never gets lost in the blurry, moving parts or feels like the action is stretching on for too long; a balancing act that feels effortless when written this way.
The interplay between Carver and his latched-on ghosts is always a highlight, and possibly the best part of this novella is Baxter early on establishing a new precedent for this relationship that changes the game in a big way. It’s not too long after this that a truly shocking moment comes out of left field as an indirect result. It’s all a nice touch that goes a long way to keep this series the furthest thing from stale, even three books in.
While Ghost Recall doesn’t end on a cliffhanger per se, Baxter makes it clear he’s not stopping at a trilogy. With this being the strongest entry in the series yet, I can get behind that decision.