The Devil in Gray by Graham Masterton

(No Series)

A young woman brutally hacked to pieces in her Virginia home—with a weapon over a hundred years old. A retired Army officer butchered—by an invisible attacker. A young man blinded in his bathtub—then boiled alive. What do all the victims have in common? What malevolent nightmare stalked them? He is not dead, but not truly living. He cannot be killed, only trapped. And for years he was trapped, buried alive in a desperate attempt to end the terror. But now he is free again, free to complete his ghastly mission—free to slaughter the unsuspecting. Is he a spirit? An immortal madman? Was he ever human? What is . . . the devil in gray?

The plot, while not flawless, is certainly a ride on the "different side" possesses something actually unique (can you believe it?) The book is another twist on the classic "detective hunting down a madman" deal...come on, admit it, it's hard to get tired of those if they're done right! While that parts familar, the end result and villian aren't. And..neither is the detective.

The religion Santeria is focused on, which is a new one for me, something that proved to be fascinating.

Taking place in Richmond, VA, Detective Decker is a sarcastic lady go-getter determined to stay out of relationships since the tragic death of his ex-girlfriend. Bizarre cases unfold concerning an invisible type man, which Decker doesn't believe in at first...until he just doesn't have a choice. With his friendly partner (and partner's shy but talented wife), and the aide of a little girl who's disabled but 'gifted', the group prepares for the ultimate hunt of the ultimate bad guy.

One of the things in the novels favor is its characterization. Detective Decker had me laughing out loud on more than one occassion with his seemingly endless bag of cheap pick-up lines. Although he did some asshole things, I eventually found him endearing for seeing the reason of his actions. He had a good amount of bravery in doing what he had to, and evolved throughout the story, coming to terms with pain and loss. Sandra, a little girl with down syndrome and uncanny abilities, was fun to read about, and although she wasn't present much of the time, when she was it counted.

It begins with violence and ends with violence. Quick paced but not suffocating, Masterton passes this part of the test. Masterton's writing style shines; this man almost paints the words on the page, beaming with great talent. There are no complaints in this department! This novel also relies heavily on gore and graphic violence, what a treat :)

While The Devil in Gray had me sitting there wanting to devour it all at once -- it really WAS hard to break myself away from it --- that's not to say there weren't faults to be found. While Detective Decker was cute and clever, a few small shades of her personality were a little unconvincing. When it was revealed what had happened to his wife, I had sort of predicted that from the get go.

But overall this is a treat I'll be re-reading one day. The old religion Santeria, fascinating history of the US war, detectives in modern times, psychic children and wives, nervous partners, excessive blood shed and violence detail -- what more could one ask for?

   Book Quotes:

“Just because you can't see them and you can't hear them, that doesn't mean they're not here.”

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