Review: Play With Fire and Midnight at The Oasis/ Author: Justin Gustainis / Publisher: Solaris Books / Release Date: Out Now
Hard-boiled, supernaturally-driven detective dramas are very common these days; the idea has always been a cool one, but the bookshelves are filled with this sort of drama. Justin Gustainis’s latest contribution to the urban fantasy detective drama genre brings back his popular heroes Morris and Chastain and is two books in one.
Play with Fire is a gritty little tale about a cult who has decided to take on the Christian faith in America. The two main characters carry this story through and this is problematic at times. Instead of a will-they-won’t-they vibe, they have a why-the-hell-haven’t-they thing going on, and it really feels like critical character development has been held back simply to make this story more commercial. What could well be a supernatural version of the better police dramas out there instead feels kooky and restricted, which is a pity, there is a lot of potential here.
The second story, Midnight at the Oasis is a fairly standard tale of Middle Eastern terrorists looking to blow up some part of America. The twist is that rather than a suitcase nuke, a Djinn is being used. Despite it’s relatively short length, the story is pretty slow, and both adventures in this book would have benefited from being a lot shorter. It also seems to get mired in its own backstory too readily and loses a lot of momentum this way. However, both stories are solid procedural crime dramas with a supernatural twist to them. Nothing remarkable, but it’ll certainly keep you entertained on a long flight.