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Dark Light: Dawn by Jon Land (Created by Fabrizio Boccardi)
Cover Artist: Shutterstock
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Forge Books Hardcover / eBook  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765328724
Date: 01 August 2017

Links: Author's Website / F. Boccardi's Wikipedia Entry / Show Official Info /

While drilling for oil on cursed lands in Yucatan, Mexico, Ben Younger becomes trapped in an underground cavern. He discovers a glowing rock. Its touch burns his right palm, leaving a permanent scar that sometimes bleeds. Soon afterward, Ben's wife, Melissa, unable to bear children, becomes pregnant with their son, Max; he is born with a birthmark on his palm--a scar like his dad's, which also bleeds. Max becomes a Navy SEAL; in battle, he is capable of single-handedly killing dozens of enemies with his superhuman strength and supernatural powers. Meanwhile, Ben Younger's wicked business partner, Dale Denton, plans to become the richest man alive by locating the mysterious stone and using it to create an unlimited, un-exhaustible source of energy.

A psychopathic Islamic terrorist, Mohammed al-Qadir, is using the stone to create the Medusa virus; it transforms its victims into stone-like monsters. Victoria Tanoury, a member of the WHO, is investigating this contagion which has gripped the Middle East; she races to discover a cure before it infects the entire world. On numerous occasions, Father Pascal Jiminez of the Vatican Miracle Commission has traveled to remote parts of the globe and discovered the horrible destruction that the stone has brought to both man and beast. He must reconcile science and the supernatural while laboring to unveil a conspiracy of corrupt men who are protecting the extraterrestrial stone. It may contain the essence of pure evilness--an evilness that will destroy all of mankind.

Best-selling author Jon Land (author of my beloved Caitlin Strong novels) has once again teamed up with creative superstar Fabrizio Boccardi and developed a new horror-thriller series, Dark Light. This is Land's version of the Great Apocalypse, which is depicted in the Bible's book of Revelation. The first novel in the series, Dark Light: Dawn, chronicles the discovery of the evil stone in 1990. It is a stone that Father Jiminez believes was brought to earth 65 million years ago by the same meteor that annihilated all of the dinosaurs. Upon the stone's discovery, a battle of good versus evil ensues. The novel has good characters and it has evil characters--the most dastardly evil characters I have ever encountered in literature.

If you like Jon Land's Caitlin Strong novels, then you will love Dark Light: Dawn. It reads like one of the Caitlin Strong novels; they always have strong heroes and heroines, incredibly evil villains, shoot-'em-up violence galore, supernatural elements, and high-tech, apocalyptic threats to the state of Texas or the entire country. Take the mystery, intrigue, violence, horror, and romance of a Caitlin Strong novel; amplify it ten times; and you have Dark Light: Dawn. I would've loved to have read this novel from cover to cover in one sitting; unfortunately, I'm not a fast reader and my J-O-B gets in the way.

The novel begins in 1990 and ends in the present. It transitions smoothly back and forth from the present to 1990, when the stone was discovered and Max Younger was born, to 2008, when Max Younger becomes Max Borgia, an unstoppable killing machine for the Navy SEALs. There are numerous mysteries. How exactly did Ben Younger die? His death was not a suicide. Who is leaking intel to Mohammed al-Qadir who is always one step ahead of the SEALs, the WHO, and the Vatican? Paramount is the mystery of the stone itself: its origin, its purpose, and the role it will play in the shaping, and eventual destruction, of Earth. Mystery and horror have always been my fortes. Unfortunately, the novel's science fiction elements, such as its use of the black hole theory, bypass my understanding.

Another main character, albeit a supernatural one, is the ghostly specter of a little girl who appears to all the other characters throughout the passing decades. She is a blind girl named Lilith who likes to whisper, "Your God is not here." According to legend, Lilith is the mother of all demons. She is also Adam's first wife; her refusal to submit to him resulted in her expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Exactly who or what is Lilith? Wherever there is destruction and desolation, one will find her. She is connected to the virulent plague wrought by the Medusa virus. I enjoyed reading how the virus was spreading throughout the Middle East, jumping from village to village, transforming its human victims into grotesque monsters.

Reviewers are comparing Jon Land's Dark Light: Dawn to numerous apocalyptic horror novels and series. While reading this novel, I thought of the phenomenally popular adult animated film, Heavy Metal. It is an analogy of stories that are centered around a spherical, glowing stone, the Loc-Nar, that travels through space from one planet to another. It is pure evil. The Loc-Nar transforms both the living and the dead into instruments of destruction. It feeds on lust, greed, and other human vices. Very few humans can resist its diabolical powers. The glowing stone in Dark Light: Dawn reminds me of the Loc-Nar. Its power is pure evil.

My favorite character in Dark Light: Dawn is Father Pascal Jimenez who travels the globe, investigating the authenticity of miracles. I would love to have his job. My most hated character is the Islamic terrorist Mohammed al-Qadir who uses his sword to lop off the arms of poor village children. The excellent characterization; the globe-trotting from humid jungles in the Amazon to the frozen wilderness of the Adirondacks; the gruesome Medusa plague; the supernatural appearance of Lilith; and the nonstop action and violence all added up to one enjoyable, unforgettable horror-thriller. Put this one on your list of must-read novels for 2018. Dark Light would make a spectacular television miniseries. I predict that its popularity will spread unchecked throughout the world like the Medusa virus.

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