By Michael Clark
This book hit the world on May 8th, packaged with the type of eye-catching cover I’ve come to expect on a Michael Clark release, as well as a whole lot of anticipation. Thankfully or not, depending on how you look at it, I’ve only been privy to The Patience of a Dead Man trilogy since March. As much as I missed out on the first wave of excitement, each time I finished a book in the series I was able to take solace in the fact that the next one wasn’t far behind.
Well, all good things must come to an end and that solace is gone because book three, Anger is an Acid, brings the intertwined stories of Tim Russell, Holly Burns, and Mildred Wells to a head. I’m going to start off by saying that while I’m not sure how the rest of the world will react to the way Clarks wraps it up, I loved it. The characters, all of them, were too nuanced for the last twenty or so pages to go any other way. We’ve had three books to get to know and care for Tim, and the decisions he makes at the end of the journey are unexpected, but serve to bring his story full circle. Oh, how I would love to delve into spoiler territory at this point, but I’ll spare you.
Anger is an Acid picks up immediately after the end of Dead Woman Scorned. As the shortest book in the series, this one employs a pace that doesn’t really let up until the last page. There’s simply no time for that to happen. Even elements that seem to be superfluous to the story all tie together when the third act of the book rolls into the station.
One of the highpoints of this entire series is Clark’s ability to write tense, eerie scenes. He’s able to mimic the type of cinematic experience where you watch a character slowly travel down a dark hallway, absolutely convinced that at any second, something dreadful is going to emerge from the darkness. You don’t know when it’s going to happen, you aren’t even assured that it absolutely is going to happen, but you sit on the edge of your seat while it plays out. The first book gave us several of these cinematic achievements, and there is yet another one in Anger is an Acid where I finished the chapter, then flipped back just to see what exactly Clark is doing to pull this tactic off with such success.
I think my favorite book in the series remains book two, but a well-deserved tip of the cap goes out to Michael Clark. He hooked this reader with The Patience of a Dead Man, surprised the hell out of me with Dead Woman Scorned, and wrapped it all up in what I consider to be a highly satisfying manner with Anger is an Acid.
As a shameless plug, Michael Clark will appear on an episode of Dead Headspace with Patrick R. McDonough and I. It’s set to go up on May 27th, and he offers a lot of insight into the genesis of the trilogy and how he wrote Tim Russell. Going into book three with that knowledge really enhanced my appreciation of the ending.
Review by Brennan LaFaro
I received a paperback copy from the publisher for review consideration