Continuing from the horrors of the first book Skendleby, THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST sees archaeologist Steve Watkins flee to the Greek island of Samos to escape the supernatural events set in motion by the Skendleby excavation. Working at the university on the island, Steve begins to build his new life in a bid to erase the past trauma from his memory. However, after saving the life of a young man named Antonis injured in a car accident, Steve finds himself taken in by Antonis’ father Vassilis, a wealthy and powerful man on the island who many of the locals despise and fear. At the beck and call of Vassilis and falling for his beautiful daughter Alekka, Steve begins to wonder of the true nature of Vassilis and what he wants from him.
Meanwhile, across the island, police Detective Theodrakis from Athens is under increasing pressure from his superiors to solve a spate of ritualistic killings, with each murder as horrific as the next. With the stench of death comes civil unrest and with wildfires spreading across the land, the whole island slowly descends into chaos. Will he be able to solve the murder case in time?
Author Nick Brown is back to terrify his readers with creepy sequel THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST, a book that doesn’t waste time in getting under your skin. Much like Skendleby, THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST has a classic, old-school horror feel about it with Brown keen to slowly build up the tension and allow the horrors to gradually trickle out with frightening effect. Don’t let the location fool you. Whilst this novel may be set on a stunning, sun-kissed island, the ancient evil of Skendleby is far from done as poor Steve is once again yet to find out.
Talented archaeologist Steve Watkins may have played second fiddle to fellow archaeologist Giles in the first book, but Steve is one of the main characters of THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST, the other being Alexis Theodrakis, an Athenian detective who unfortunately finds himself on an island where he isn’t wanted. The two men are lost in their own little way. Both find themselves away from the comfort of their own home amongst strangers but home for Steve is where the trauma of Skendleby lies, and Theodrakis’ home of Athens has fallen thanks to the bankers and politicians who’ve ruined the economy. Their native lands are no longer the safe haven to return to. Nope, Samos is their new home and whilst drinking by the sea may be one of the few highlights of the struggling island, there’s certainly worse things to be doing in an evening as they soon discover.
Nick Brown has a way with words that captivates you as a reader, enabling you to easily envisage the world he describes in his books. The art of delivering a simmering evil seems to come so effortlessly to him and it’s so easy for the subtle darkness to seep into your soul. I had a very strange dream after reading this late one night, such is the effect his work can have on you. Brown isn’t one for blood, guts and gore though like the torture porn we are used to in the movies. His writing is more akin to the underlying horror as seen in The Wicker Man and the like. Though the story deals with brutal killings, ancient evil and dead bodies, Brown refuses to go into gratuitous detail, instead opting for the less is more option where the reader themselves will paint a picture of the horror in their own mind. I’m in love with this style of writing as it reminds me of the classic horrors of years gone by and Brown is so adept at making the most out of it and delivering the goods. Even if you just focus on the drama within the novel, the detailed descriptions of the area, that the characters find themselves in, create such a vivid image in your mind that you’ll feel as though you’re there, in the shoes of the character in question.
Throughout the story, the characters are constantly developed, even those that have already been established in the previous book. Their personalities, likes and dislikes shine through and we get to know each of them as individuals and how they perceive the events they find themselves in. Brown’s detail of the location, the murder case and even his exquisite use of dialogue adds to this depth and creates such an involving story that you’ll find it hard to tear yourself away from the pages. He brings his stories alive and even though they’re filled with such evil, I can’t help but want to stay in this world he’s created, such is his way with words. Though, set in the beautiful island of Samos, Greece, with its beaches and fishing village, certainly does help!
Whilst you’ll be able to read THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST without reading Skendleby first, there will be some things lost on the reader, particularly with the history of the characters. Therefore I heartily recommend checking out Skendleby before settling down with this, a sequel that continues and improves upon the story established in the eerie first novel. After reading the 240 pages of this book, I was left delighted that the story teases a third novel in the series. Skendleby was never a standalone story, it was merely the beginning and fans of the book will be pleased to see how the consequences of that cursed excavation reverberate in THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST and novels to come. It’s bone-chilling stuff and I’m both terrified yet curious as to what lies ahead.
Thrilling, gripping and utterly frightening at times, THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST is one transcendental tale worth checking out.