Ford Atticus Ford, former host of the hit ghost-hunting reality show Graveyard: Classified, has more than a few regrets—especially after young Chelsea Hopper was attacked by a demon.
Assisting police departments by conducting paranormal investigations and uncovering buried clues now provides Ford with an ounce of redemption, but it will never be enough.
What occurred on that long-ago Halloween night was unforgivable, and Ford, chasing ratings and stardom, let it happen. With Graveyard cancelled and his reputation destroyed, Ford sets out to avenge little Chelsea, and to save his own soul—if he can.
About the Author
Desmond Doane is the pen name of USA Today bestselling author, Ernie Lindsey, who lives, works, and writes in the Pacific Northwest. Lindsey is the author of thirteen mystery and suspense novels, and Desmond Doane, when he's allowed to come out to play, will feature as the creator of the Graveyard: Classified paranormal thriller series.
Ernie Lindsey, writing here under the pseudonym of Desmond Doane, takes his first steps into the horror genre with The Dark Man, and it's, mostly, pretty darn effective.
The premise revolves around a disgraced reality show ghost-hunter, Ford Atticus Ford, working to atone for his past sins. Two years ago, during a live Halloween special, Ford put the life of a five year old in incredible danger, squaring off against a supernatural threat in the Most Haunted House in America. His career was quickly canned and he's now a bit of a wandering ghost-hunter, attempting to track down the demon that changed his life forever while doing police consultancy on the side.
Ford himself is a dynamic character and Lindsey gives him a solid bit of development and personality. Ford is, in short, kind of an a-hole. While he carries around a solid dose of guilt over endangering the life of a child, he also pines to resurrect his TV career and rebound bigger and better than before. His personal life is in shambles, as his friends and crewmates from the cancelled Graveyard: Classified want nothing to do with him, and his ex-wife isn't too thrilled with him either.
Lindsey's foray into the paranormal brings with it a certain measure of authenticity, and I can't help but wonder just how many episodes of certain SyFy and Travel Channel reality TV shows he's consumed to help give Graveyard: Classified the sort-of 'behind the scenes' vibe. Regardless, it's an aspect of the story that works quite well.
More importantly, he nails the creep-factor nicely and had me completely sold on the book's premise and invested in the outcome. There's a scene early on when Ford is investigating a haunted house and Lindsey gives readers their first taste of the otherworldly that raised the hair on the back of my neck and got me grinning.
For much of its length, The Dark Man rockets along with the rapid-fire pace of an action story with splashes of humor, evoking shades of television's Supernatural. However, my main complaint is that the story fizzles out toward the end and lacks sufficient resolution. While the central murder mystery gets wrapped up, the overarching paranormal story is shelved for exploration in future installments. There's a strange shifting of gears in the novel's final chapters, with so much build-up leading toward the finish line and then...nothing. It's a rather anti-climactic finish to an otherwise well-told ghost story.
That issue aside, I'm certainly game to see what comes of Ford Atticus Ford and his ghost-hunting partners in future installments, and am game for book two whenever it releases. See you on the other side!