A Blue Horizon (Ashrealm: Book 1) by M.R. Darling.
*Mr. Darling provided me with a free copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.*
The story starts off with two commuter trains colliding. In the wake of the cash, we find out everyone on the train has been killed, leaving no evidence they were ever on the train except for a mysterious pile of ash.
Mr. Darling masterfully lays a tapestry of questions begging for answers. What is the cause of this unusual event? Is it a biological attack or something more sinister? Why does this phenomenon seem to be spreading? Why does everything that falls into its path–birds, insects, plant-life–disintegrate into ashes?
In pursuit of these questions and more are Nick Miller and Bill Wyburn. Nick is a battle-hardened captain tasked with leading a squad of men into the Ashrealm. Bill is the crotchety former head of The Shop–a private military contractor secretly funded by the government.
This books contains no glittery vampires and melanin-challenged zombies, and reads more like a government conspiracy novel with elements of mystery and the supernatural. That works really well for the book.
But, it wouldn’t be a complete review if I didn’t mention some of the drawbacks, or why I gave this a three star review. Why are these men special forces and not scientists? Also, the opening is long on ambient description, and short on action. Additionally, the author gives us too much information in the first chapter that it feels a little like I’m reading the last chapter first. However, I say, skip the few opening pages and jump right into the action. Trust me, if you stick with it, you are going to know much more about the Ashrealm.