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Sons of Darkness – 4 Star Book Review

Welcome to one of the February 15th stops on the blog tour for Sons of Darkness by Gail Z. Martin, organized by Audiobookworm Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, audio excerpts, reviews, guest posts by the author, and interviews with the author.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

About the Book

Sons of Darkness
Night Vigil Book One
by Gail Z. Martin

Print/eBook Published 2 November 2018
SOL Publishing
Page Count: 284

Audiobook Published 20 October 2020
Tantor Audio
Narrator: Jeffrey Kafer
Length: 7 hours 25 minutes

Genre: Paranormal Urban Fantasy
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We are the Night Vigil.

We keep the Vigil, looking for the ones who can still be saved, the ones who aren’t too far gone. We’re the misfits and the muck-ups, unwanted by Heaven or Hell, given one last chance to atone for all the mistakes and missed chances, the pain we’ve caused others and ourselves, the good things we were afraid to do, and the bad things we embraced with open arms.

Unfinished business ties us to the mortal world, to make atonement, find absolution, satisfy retribution, get things right. You won’t find a sorrier group of halfway-house heroes. No illusions left – about ourselves, humanity, or what’s really out there in the darkness. Just a purpose, to go down fighting the good fight. Because this is our last chance.

One final chance to make it right, the thin red line of humanity against the evil that goes bump in the night, your best hope to make it through the hour of the wolf.

When a series of disappearances, suicides, and vengeful spirits cause havoc and death along a remote interstate highway, demon-hunting ex-priest Travis Dominick teams up with former special-ops soldier and monster-hunter Brent Lawson to end the problem with extreme prejudice.

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My Review

My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.

I was granted complimentary review access to an audiobook copy of Sons of Darkness through the audiobooks.com platform in order to participate as a reviewer on the February blog tour for this title with Audiobookworm Promotions. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

Ex-priest Travis Dominick and former soldier turned private investigator Brent Lawson have something in common: They know what goes bump in the night and they’re here to deal with it. This action-packed paranormal urban fantasy has all the best elements of a crime thriller while still maintaining the heavily paranormal category urban fantasy feeling. When links begin to show up between paranormal cases and it becomes clear that an entire town is under the influence of demonic forces, this unlikely pair have to set aside their differences and work with the believers among the town to rid it of its curse.

Every single character in this book is fleshed out and well rounded, and the reader is given ample opportunity to empathise with them and get attached. We feel for Travis and Brent. We feel for random townsfolk. We feel for actual zombies. Gail knows how to make us care about every character who walks across the page, and I love it!

This book is full of action with main characters and plot circumstances that make me think of a mix of Dresden Files and Supernatural with a sprinkling of Tad Hamilton’s Dirty Streets of Heaven. The character development and interaction is more Dresden and Hamilton, while the paranormal mystery could easily be a lost episode from Paranormal itself. Fans of any of these will have a great time.

My critiques are minor, but I do feel the need to mention a couple of things. First, some of the backstory details we’re fed come in the form of inner monologue tangents or verbalized responses to questions asked by other characters that don’t necessarily warrant that kind of detail. In the beginning, I was really worried that this book was a victim of world-builders disease and I was going to be constantly annoyed by snippets of information I don’t really need shoehorned into the story in awkward ways. As the book went on I stopped noticing it, so either it got better or it wasn’t actually as bad as I first felt it was and I got used to it. Second, there were some unique, stand-out phrases (like “hard-used”) that were utilized in clusters in the beginning and I was worried that they would start to become annoying overuse instances, but in every case by the time I took note that it had been said a lot in the last few minutes of playback, that ended up being the last time I noticed it. Once again, it got better as the book progressed. Because of these things, because I kept getting pulled out of the story to consider them, I was worried that I wasn’t going to like the book. Even though it turned out great, these troubles at the start are the reason I’m rating it a 4 and not a 5. To be more succinct, it wasn’t a smooth start, and as much as I loved the book by the end, I didn’t forget about the start.

Jeffrey Kafer’s voice and performance narrating this book were very good. It was easy to listen to and his voice suits the tone of the book quite well. I was rarely confused about which character’s head we were in, and while that’s partly due to Gail’s strong writing, it’s also largely due to how Jeffrey handled the different characters in his performance. I will say that I felt the default 1x playback speed for this book was rather slow. I acknowledge that I’m a fast listener, not everyone is, and listeners like me can always speed it up. I was forced to be aware of how slow the default speed was because of the platform I was invited to listen on (audiobooks.com in this case, not audible) where the computer browser cloud player doesn’t allow speed adjustments and the mobile app only goes to 2x. I found myself wishing for 2.5x. I think that would have been the most comfortable playback speed for me. (For reference, my Libby settings is usually 1.75-2x, which means I listen to the average audiobook book at about 3/4ths the speed I wanted to listen to this one.)

Overall this was a great paranormal mystery read and I am absolutely going to keep the series and other books by this author in mind for future reading. I’m also impressed with this narrator and will feel confident selecting books with his name on the narrator credit line. I recommend this book (in any format) to lovers of grittier fantasy, especially if you love paranormal or mystery elements, and I think this book will appeal to fans of Dresden and Paranormal.

About the Author

Gail Z. Martin writes urban fantasy, epic fantasy and steampunk for Solaris Books, Orbit Books, Falstaff Books, SOL Publishing and Darkwind Press. Urban fantasy series include Deadly Curiosities and the Night Vigil (Sons of Darkness). Epic fantasy series include Darkhurst, the Chronicles Of The Necromancer, the Fallen Kings Cycle, the Ascendant Kingdoms Saga, and the Assassins of Landria. Together with Larry N. Martin, she is the co-author of Iron & Blood, Storm & Fury (both Steampunk/alternate history), and the Spells Salt and Steel comedic horror series. Newest titles include Tangled Web, Vengeance, The Dark Road, and Assassin’s Honor. As Morgan Brice, she writes urban fantasy MM paranormal romance, with her Witchbane and Badlands series.

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About the Narrator

Jeffrey Kafer is a full-time SAG-AFTRA audiobook narrator. He has narrated over 450 books in almost every genre for such authors Clive Barker, Steve Alten, Maya Banks, Gregg Olsen and many others. He has 2 degrees in cinema and broadcasting and spent the first part of his career as a video game tester for Microsoft before following his true passion of acting. He’s been on stage since he was 13 (his mom still has the bellhop costume she made) and currently lives in Los Angeles with his family and dog.

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Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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