Speechless. Wordless. Shocked. Dumbfounded. Ink-blotted. Wait – what?
“Ink” is a novel by acclaimed screenwriter Glenn Benest, co-written with Dale Pitman. And Benest’s talent for the silver screen translates masterfully into this scare-fest that’s thrilling, macabre, and spine-chilling.
Graphic novelist Brian Archer is a bit world-weary, finding solace in his simple studio, with his dog Deke being his sole companion. His brainchild, The Highwayman is a commercial success, so much so that the mania surrounding the phantom justice-deliverer has driven Archer to isolation and loneliness.
But when he meets talented illustrator AJ Hart, Brian feels that he can be happy again – he’s found a kindred spirit, a similarly wounded soul. But the arrival of a mysterious bottle of black ink brings to life past traumas, forgotten fears, and the supernatural.
What does happen when our own imagination and creations start to manifest in our lives? What makes fantasy a reality? And can Brian find the bravery and courage he needs to face his own demon and salvation?
Brian Archer’s The Highwayman is a vigilante, an angel of justice, and an angel of death. He’s like the Ghost Rider, only he approaches souls seeking justice.
I don’t know how to feel about him. He’s not exactly a hero, but he’s definitely not the bad guy. He’s like a good Devil, if there’s such a thing. Even then, he’s not a compassionate phantom. He’s got a job – to met out justice the souls scream for and to defeat his nemesis who lurks in the darkest shadows of a person’s heart.
Glenn Benest manages to depict The Highwayman as someone – or something – riding between good and evil, justice and revenge, mercy and condemnation. He’s terrifying, with powers beyond comprehension, riding a monster truck.
Without a doubt it is a horror novel. References to Lovecraft and Poe set the atmosphere for something horrendous. It’s not a creature-feature. It’s a dark and grim story of vengeance and justice and the blurred line in between. I love Poe and I do agree with Brian and AJ, that he is “the greatest master of them all” (which tells us that this story isn’t your run-of-the-mill penny dreadful).
Curses and energies abound, with karma thrown in, that asserts the novel’s hair-raising premise. Deaths – not by strange animals – but at the hands of men make “Ink” a highly realistic and sympathetic read.
I usually shy away from “lonely male protagonist meets a woman who brings light and life into his life and saves his soul” because many of those stories depict the love interest as one-dimensional symbols of serenity rather than actual people with problems, who aren’t perfect.
And that’s why “Ink” proudly introduces two characters who are both broken, both trying to overcome their fears and past troubles. AJ strives to build a good life for herself, and Brian goes out of his way to re-introduce himself to society, going out with AJ in public places just to be with her.
And towards the end…. OH MY SDFHSDJFG! Let me tell you, there are more questions than answers at the end of (Book One, apparently) “Ink”, but that’s what makes it intriguing. There are things to look forward to and I’m getting goosebumps just writing and thinking about them. The Highwayman and his nemesis. Among us.
Should you read it?
If you want to bite your nails, look over your shoulder, and raise your blood pressure, then read “Ink”. I have to warn you, though: Be prepared to wait for the next book (or movie, if Archer changes his mind), because you will need it and you will want it.
The fight for humankind has just begun, my friend.
Coming July 15, 2015
Pre-Order HERE: Order before July 15 and you get a FREE shipping! How cool is that?