Fade to Black by Tim McBain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
**Fade To Black** by *L.T. Vargus and Tim McBain*: The Grobnagger Chronicles #1.
First, there's someone who appears to be just an ordinary kind of guy, but he gets seizures in which he dreams he's hanging upside down in an alley with a rope attached to his foot and no idea how to get himself out of this position much less return to his real life where he doesn't have to undo knots and figure out how to get to the ground without breaking a limb or falling on his head. Once he's met this challenge and overcome it, he is not prepared for what's next which is a brute who begins chasing him down this alley with the sole intention of strangling him to death. After repeating this scenario a number of times, our hero, Jeff Grobnagger, does get better with the knots and the running away, but he still ends up dead until the seizure ends and he returns to the present. Then the story expands to include a new found friend named Glenn who has a cat with digestive problems and a missing daughter. At first Jeff is somewhat wary of Glenn, but after Glenn takes Jeff home and cooks him some of the best food he's ever tasted, Jeff starts to become less paranoid about what Glenn's motives might be.
There is more to Glenn than meets the eye, however. He does have an agenda of his own concerning a missing daughter, and he does know more about the dreams Jeff has during the seizures than he admits to Jeff at first. However, neither Jeff nor Glenn could possibly prepare themselves for some of the occasions they experience together that defy logical explanation. There are very few dull moments once these two men hook up and begin meeting others who appear to have some stake in what Jeff's dreams are all about. The most entertaining parts for me were when Jeff gave his take on either what was happening at the moment or what had previously happened. I laughed out loud more than once at the way in which Jeff perceives his situations and circumstances, even when he's being strangled. Which is why the pages flew by and I didn't want to stop reading until I had all the answers to all the questions -- or at least the answers the authors were willing to give up in this, the first book of Jeff Grobnagger.
The last third of the book was the best part for me. That's when we got to see who Jeff Grobnagger is all about. It was obvious to me that the authors gave a lot of thought to each of the main characters we came to know. There was a lot of humor in this book, but as it came to a close, there was also a lot of heart. There is a maturity in the writing that made me stop and think about what I'd read more than once. There were also a couple surprises I never saw coming. Vargus and McBain have written something quite unique, and I highly recommend it to those who like to read books a little out of the mainstream and who appreciate a fresh look at material that really hasn't been done quite like this before. I'm looking forward to the next installment of the Grobnagger Chronicles as well as anything else these talented writers give us. I'm telling everyone I know about this book, and not only because I thought it was such a good read. It's because it's fun to say Grobnagger over and over again!
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