Paxton Locke is our hero. He is also a scarred individual who has dealt with way more than any human being should ever have to. I won't go into specifics because I try to avoid spoilers, but ummm... damn. Like seriously, some characters you'd love to meet in real life. Paxton is kinda-sorta one of those. I mean, he's an awesome dude who sounds like he's got some really cool stories to tell. On the other hand, Paxton has been through things that no human being should have to endure. He's a weird one. At the end of the day, I'm kind of glad that this guy isn't real. Wow.
I love the way Fade is set up. This is the first book in a series and it lays things out well to move forward. It is, however, a good standalone even if it makes me hope for a prequel before the first sequel is published. Paxton has an amazing if, as previously mentioned, horrifying history. We get just enough of it in the work to make me want more. Humphreys is a good enough author to wind it all together and make it work. I'll be watching his progress in the future. And the good news is that I know more is coming. I don't do end of book excerpts, but there was one included in my E-ARC. So it's coming, it's just not here yet. Faster please.
Fade starts out in a manner that is a bit creepy, but not overly so. By the end of the book it's straight up horrific. Things proceed logically, but quickly. And boy, oh boy do they get ugly. Actually I don't mean ugly. I mean ooglay. As in bad. As in eww, eww, AGAIN! AGAIN! (Ok, so maybe I'm a bit twisted.) The villains in this one are well, villainous. You want to see them get theirs. The heroes are heroic. You want to see them succeed. Sometimes there really are good guys and bad guys. This is one of those times.
Ok, so sometimes even the positive stuff in this book can be a bit gross. I'm okay with that.Hell, I enjoy it. A little bit of grossness makes the story more believable and good fiction produces an emotional response. A bit of squirming uncomfortably is precisely that. After all, sometimes natural processes can be a bit disturbing, but it gets even worse when it's sped up. And, let's face it, anesthetic is for wimps. Paxton is hard core. And I feel you, bro. I want a whole box of Twinkies right now too. Granted, I didn't do what you did to earn them, but hey nobody's perfect right?
Paxton himself is a bit of a complicated character. I mean, he wants to do what's right. He earns his living by banishing ghosts. He sends them away, stopping their torture and keeping them from tormenting the living as well. He only charges for his services sometimes. He's a good person. He works hard and plays little. He's been through a lot but has come out stronger. He's a tough dude.
And yet, he has a heart of gold. There is one part of Fade where no one, and by that I mean not a single human being living, dead or as yet unborn, could fault him for giving up on an unwinnable situation and walking away. I mean, sure it would have been a sad day but it's something that he probably could have lived with. Instead he damn near kills himself saving another human being using methods that he doesn't truly understand. If there has ever in the history of fiction been a character that has earned the right to be bitter, it is Paxton Locke. The fact that he put himself out there like this in spite of all of that is amazing.
Yet, when he is presented with a potential tool to use he dismisses it as evil. This strikes me as perhaps not the most intelligent method of handling things. I mean, I get that the tool in question is something he has a history with and that it's not a good one. I just don't understand the fact that he destroyed something that was potentially useful just because someone had used it for evil. Listen folks, tools are not inherently good or evil. The knife you cut a tomato with is used to make a salad. It can also be shoved between someone's ribs simply because of a strong dislike. The hammer that you used to hang a picture last night can be used to murder someone. . Oh, and yes weapons can be used for good purposes as well. Self-defense is a positive.Pick a holy text. (And yes, a holy text is a tool. It is used to pass on knowledge of a religion and help convert people.) It can be used as the reason to help people. It can also be used for purposes of hatred and conquest. And so on. Paxton burns something that is potentially his most valuable tool. It irks me. I mean, in context it makes sense but it's just frustrating.
Oh, and let me say this about the ending: Humphreys gets it right. Fade ends in a way that a.) makes me want to read the next book and b.) isn't a freaking heart stopping moment meant to make me buy the book. Seriously. It's kind of relaxed but looks toward the future. I like that.
I'll be reading it, too.
Bottom Line: 4.75 out of 5 Apparitions
Silver Empire, 2018
Fade is available for purchase that the following link: