Ok, here’s another review of another Lee Goldberg book. I promise I’m really not related to him. It’s just that coincidentally, I started reading his books around the same time that I started writing (and reviewing) and I just happen to love them.
The Dead Man is a series that Goldberg and Rabkin had intended to be a TV series about 20 years ago. Face of Evil, the first book, does indeed read like a TV pilot, and like many TV pilots, leaves you both satisfied and dissatisfied.
Let me explain. First of all, I couldn’t put it down. It reads well, and the main character is attractive. Matthew Cahill is what in Australia we’d call a good bloke. He’s strong, handsome, lots of integrity, helps those less fortunate, and basically what you see is what you get. And the problem he initially has to solve is one that we can readily identify with. Not that any of us have ever really had that problem. It’s just that you can get that if you did have it, you’d probably feel exactly the way Matt does. So you’re totally engaged in trying to solve that problem with him.
Secondly, there are cheeky little hints along the way that something a little unusual is happening here. It’s tricky, because even at the end, we’re still not completely clear that it wasn’t all just in Matt’s imagination. But you do know that there’s more here than meets the eye.
On the other side – it’s short!! Just 78 pages. And at the end, I was left like I often am at the end of a favorite TV show: “Aw shit, do I really have to wait another week for the next installment??!” But you know, that’s not so bad. I really have something to look forward to.
The way they’ve conceived this project is that they have set up a bunch of good mystery writers to do the rest of the series, and they’ll all get appropriate credit for their particular story. I think it’s a great approach, and I’m interested to see how the characters are developed by the different authors.
Do yourselves a favour, and get The Dead Man: Face of Evil. You’ll read it quickly, you’ll probably love it, and you’ll be left waiting for “next week’s episode”.