Rise The Dark
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
25 Aug. 2016
Michael Koryta, with Last Words in 2015, produced one of the finest novels of the year for its style, characterisation, descriptive prose and dialogue. Pretty much every box having been ticked with the first Markus Novak outing, it is now up to the former PI to find out how his wife was murdered in Rise The Dark. There’s quite a bit to live up to with regards to comparisons being drawn with Last Words, but there is absolutely no question that Koryta has met the challenge and raised it.
A home grown terrorist group in the USA is determined to bring chaos by plunging the country into a deep darkness. But a fatal error has been made by murdering the wife of a very determined man, Markus Novak, who is focussed on revenge. Equally determined to stop the group in its tracks are the husband of a woman they have kidnapped to ensure his full cooperation and a federal agent who has been investigating the group’s activities for years.
This is as good as it gets. Tight writing allows what might in the hands of some authors become bogged down with detail. Never is this case, as Michael Koryta provides just enough information without ever going into jargon overload.
Then there are his characters. In Markus Novak, we have a true gem. A multi-faceted, walking, talking hero with all the flaws and none of them stereotypical. His manner is one that puts the reader simultaneously at ease and on the alert, with his quick manner and steely determination. He is also very much an everyman; a protagonist with which we can sympathise and empathise in equal measures: a rare treat indeed.
Added to this are his multi-psyched antagonists, particularly the laid back, self-confessed Bond villain Koryta has devised with Eli Pate: a man who can chill milk at a thousand paces and then some.
Of course it is the story that’s the thing and, with Rise The Dark, although Last Words is a tremendous read, there really isn’t any reason why you shouldn’t read Markus Novak 2 first, such are the references throughout this novel to make things clear without giving too much away about Book 1.
As to the tale he is telling here, that it concerns more than a few references to high voltage then the irony cannot be any clearer. This is a story that will electrify anybody who picks it up so that, rather like grasping ice, it will be difficult to let go until the last page has finally melted away.
Fast, penetrating, relevant and above bloody exciting, Rise The Dark is yet another fine work from the author of So Cold The River and The Ridge.