Jake Helman, an elite member of the NY Special Homicide Task Force, is facing what most cops fear - an elusive serial killer. While investigating a series of sacrificial killings being doled out by a mysterious man known as The Cipher, some of Helman's personal demons come out to haunt him. After refusing to take a drug test and resigning from the force, he finds himself working as the director of security at Tower International - a highly controversial genetic engineering company. Under the guidance of the secretive and trailblazing Mr. Tower, the company is conducting experiments of an utterly unethical nature, in the name of human progress. After delving deeper into the company, Helman finds that the Tower Int. is doing more than just playing with science, they're playing with human souls.
Lamberson, the writer and director behind the cult favorite Slime City, delivers an incredible 1-2-punch with his second novel. Like I said before, this one has a very comic book/superhero feel with a dash of crime novel thrown in for good measure. The story itself is not too complicated, wickedly fast, and jammed with so much action that you barely have a chance to breathe while reading. I flew through this one in a day or two.
Lamberson's ability to kick your ass down to the pits of despair with the main character, and the bring you flying back up at a whim, are incredible. You really feel for Jake the whole time. Lamberson does get quite masochistic when it comes to the shit he puts Jake through, making for some very painful points in the book.
If I had a rating system here at Paperback Horror, you can be sure that this book would be somewhere up near the top. It's rare to find someone so excited about the genre who turns out to be not only a phenomenal writer, but also a deliciously dark dreamer, and someone who actually has to chops to bring you all over the emotional spectrum with his well placed words. Lamberson is seriously an author to watch, as he's poised to take the modern horror world by storm.
I really want to recommend this book to everyone who feels like they need something a little more interesting from their horror novels. And keep an eye out for the second installment of the Helman Files - Desperate Souls (coming October 1st, 2010) and Lamberson's werewolf novel - The Frenzy Way (June 1st, 2010), both by Medallion Press.