When I first heard about the Jason Dark series, I was intrigued. I do love the supernatural detective stuff, what with growing up on The X-Files, and Millenium (God how I miss old TV), then finding the Simon R. Green Nightside series, and even now I just discovered Torchwood after much Doctor Who bingeing. Obviously, there are other titles I am leaving out, like Kolchak: The Night Stalker (which I watched a few episodes of on TNT reruns many years ago), or even the more modern Supernatural or Fringe. Investigation and the supernatural seem to go hand in hand, and they rarely combine in a disappointing way, so I definitely wanted to read these.
Anyway, the Jason Dark series sounded like a cool idea, and on the whole it is. What’s nifty is that the stories come in small magazines, almost the size and shape of those Soap Opera digests you see on the checkout stands in the grocery store, so they aren’t bulky and you can carry them nice and easy. I brought the ones I received to work along a pile of paperwork and other junk. The other cool thing is that they’re pretty cheap. Three bucks a pop for a fifty to sixty page novella is damn nice.
I do want to commend Henkel for carrying the torch for the old pulp magazines that used to be found on every street corner store in the country in decades long gone by. I still read about the old monster magazines, the serials, the monthly issues, it seems all my favorite authors loved them, and they still write about them with a sense of nostalgia that pours off the page, and the Jason Dark series is an excellent tip of the hat to that.
I read Volume #2, Theater of Vampires. Henkel has actually just released Volume #8, The Blood Witch so there are definitely a lot to choose from. The story read like a soap opera; the acting is terrible, but you’re only there for the story anyway, so it barely matters if the actors and actresses are a bit wooden. It’s like a B-movie on paper, with some clumsy lines of dialogue, maybe an absurd scene or two, but some good old gore, dread and action thrown in at just the right times. That being said, the story truly was entertaining which is all you can ask for.
Dark definitely has some James Bond influence in him; there are little gadgets and weapons that remind me of Q’s lab. Bottled lightning, matches with the power of the sun, holy water grenades, and other such inventions are used very well in keeping the pace of the plot quick.
What’s really cool is the crossover to other realms of fiction; Dr. Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame makes an appearance. Henkel definitely has some potential to make the series not just good, but great. If he is able to maintain the pace and action in his plots, and maybe refine his dialogue a bit, I think Jason Dark could really take off.
I actually have Volume #6 right next to me. It’s called From a Watery Grave. I will post thoughts on that when I finish it later today.
You can check the current Jason Dark releases out here.