The Long Way Down (Daniel Faust, #1)The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a roller-coaster ride! I was intrigued…and then I was bored. I was engrossed…and then I was CANNOT PUT IT DOWN WISH I COULD CALL IN SICK TO WORK hooked!

(Actual Rating: 3.5 stars for the first 1/3rd, 2 stars for the middle, and 4 stars for the last 1/3rd)

This one is not for the faint at heart, kiddies. Nope. This is a bedtime story for the
Demonic-Revenge-Seeking-Serial-Killer
in all of us.

✔ Torture
✔ Death
✔ Magic
✔ Madness

“I want him punished.

Daniel Faust is not detective. Not really anyway. He is not an assassin either. Nor does vigilante fit the bill. But if you want someone to pay for doing a wrong, he will look into it. And IF he decides you have a case, he is your man…as long as you can pay that is. And we are talking cold hard cash because he is out of a job and Las Vegas is not free.

“Everybody involved with Stacy’s death, one way or another, was going to pay for it.”

‘Ole Danny may be nobody’s version of an angel but that does not mean he does not fight for what is right [his version of right anyway.] When a sad old grandpa comes to Danny with a story of his granddaughter’s death and an envelope full of currency, Daniel agrees to look into it. What he finds drags him deep into the abyss. Unfortunately, this is one fight that Daniel is simply not prepared to fight.

“Yes, I’m aware of the irony of a man named Faust arguing against trafficking with the powers of hell, but I’ve learned from hard experience.”

BEEP BEEP BEEP

And this is where the author slams on the breaks. The first 1/3 of the book is straight up investigation and rage. The more Daniel looks into the murder, the more he thinks grandpa has a point and the bad guy needs to be taken down hard.

Is Daniel a monster? No. He is a…Conman? Criminal? Thief? Detective on the shady side? Eh. We do not really know. Background data is super sketch. We do know that his is a sorcerer who used to work for a half demon that runs underground racketeering in Vegas. We know there was a falling out. And we know that somehow he got into the revenge business . A just-trying-to-survive crook with a moral code this side of shady but a code of honor that seems incorruptible. It basically goes something like, ‘mess with others and I mess with you.’

“[…]what they were doing to you was wrong and it needed to be stopped. Doesn’t matter who you are. Doesn’t matter what you are. Wrong is wrong.”

But after he does his whole save the cheerleader save the…ergh… toes of wizards everywhere bit, we get to the middle portion of the book. You see, there was more going on than meets the eye. (view spoiler) And the second part of the book is sort of the bridge that connects the investigation he started with to the BIG BAD at the end.

And, well, it is…hmmm…BLAND.

It was not really good or bad. It was not exciting or boring. It was “okay.” It was something you would neither force yourself through or reread when finished. It was simply there. We DO learn about Daniel’s past a bit. He complicates his relationship status.

And then BAM! We reenter the story for the final exciting 1/3 of the book.

“‘You were right about one thing,’ I said softly. ‘See, I fooled myself. Thought I was some crusading hero for a while there. But that’s not who I am at all, is it?[…]I’m the bad guy,’ I told him, and kicked his fingers away.'”

A little self-introspection at our wayward hero and he is back int he game! Time to make everyone pay. Time to call in the family and go full on This-Is-What-Happens-To-Good-Guys-Gone-Pissed-Off on there butts. Because there is a larger game afoot than one wayward girl who got caught up with a bad boyfriend. This is something of BIBLICAL proportions. And if Daniel and his friends are not careful, the Angels and Demons really will come out to play.

“It’s not about violence, it’s about doing what you can, whenever you can, to stand up fro what you believe. You fight and you never, ever give up. That’s what makes a man.”

Sounds great doesn’t it? So what is my problem [aside from that pesky middle part that is]?

There was no real REASON for Daniel to be doing what he is doing. No reason to look into little girls’ deaths. No reason to keep hacking away at men he finds evil. No reason to play detective. Just. Plain. No. Reason.

Go with me for a moment back to Will & Grace land. Jack is in acting class and the teacher tells him to be an upturned chair or some nonsense. He asks what his motivation is. That is what this story lacked for the first 2/3 of the book–motivation.

That being said, the character development through the book was astonishing. These were ‘well-rounded fully developed and just getting better’ type characters. Maybe with a skosh more background and some getting inside Daniel’s head a bit, we will find the reason. Of course, that may be a bad idea as our Danny is not a fan of anyone monkeying around in his brain…

“Number one- you pissed me off. Number two- the inside of my mind is a seriously fucked-up place, and I’ve got home court advantage.”

Final Verdict:
This one has great potential to be a SMASHING series. There were a few flaws, true. But overall I am very pleased and am salivating to read the next installment. Highly encouraged for anyone who has ever read the news or dealt with someone and wanted to go ape-shit-psycho-dismemberment-and-lye on him/her.

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