Rennick (Nick Ballard #2.1), by Anthony Steven

Eight stars

As a means to promote his newest novel (which I was asked to read ahead of publication), Anthony Steven penned this short piece about one of the characters I suppose will play a role in the novel. Steven pulls the reader in from the outset and shows that those with special abilities can and do leave an indelible mark on others. A chilling tale of a boy who is labelled as mentally ill but whose connection with the other side could help solve a crime. Add to that, it’s free on his website, so have a gander.

John Rennick could not have imagined what awaited him when he attended his first day of school. An apparition made itself known, much like his Grandad, and offered a warning. Later that day, John returned home to discover tragedy in his house, which forced him into foster care. Before departing, John offers a warning to DC Andrea Davies and her partner, one that seems ominous and out of context. Still, it sticks with Davies for years to come.

When a boy goes missing in John’s group home, the police come around to investigate. DC Davies happens to be one the case and remembers Rennick, mainly because of his prophecy. When he tells of another communication with someone who’s crossed to the other side, Davies is keen to listen, in hopes that it might shed some light on the case.

I only encountered Anthony Steven last summer when I was asked to read one of his novels. I was impressed enough to be keen to accept the assignment yet again with the second novel in the Nick Ballard series. Before delving in, this short piece seemed the perfect introduction to what would be to come. Steven offers readers a great piece that begins with a bang and whose intensity never dissipates. There is some great character development and decent backstory that will surely serve me well when I tackle the novel in the coming days. Short chapters pushed the story along, while there were some wonderful cliffhanger moments. This has me excited to see how Steven has improved his writing style and attention to detail in the complemented full-length novel. A wonderful appetizer to whet the reading appetite.

Kudos, Mr. Steven, for a great short piece. You have me excited and ready to go.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: