Award-Winning Indie Thriller Author’s Anti-Hero Returns in TUNNEL VISION

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Aric Davis is one of my favorite indie thriller authors. His characters stick with me long after I finish one of his novels and his writing just keeps getting better and better. Although it takes a few chapters to get into the rhythm of things (chapters switch between first person and third person), I was hooked on Tunnel Vision (October 2014) soon after I started reading it.

Fifteen years ago a woman named Mandy was murdered and her boyfriend Duke was found guilty and sent to prison. However, the circumstances surrounding his arrest and subsequent confession make his guilt questionable. At the time of her murder, Mandy’s sister had a one-year-old daughter named June who she decided would not know about her aunt’s existence or her demise. But when June and her high school friend Betty discover Mandy’s story and family relation, the two girls are determined to find out if Duke really killed her or if the murderer is still at large. 

One of the things that keeps me coming back to Aric Davis is his characters. I love how his cast of characters are written to be real people I can easily imagine. I adored young Betty and her two lesbian mothers. I know quite a few people like June, whose alternative look (with her piercings and body art) fit her character so well. Nickel, investigator at large and friend to all, however, was by far my favorite character. Nickel is not new to Davis fans—his debut, Nickel Plated, was the first to feature this beloved anti-hero character. Davis has said that although Nickel Plated is a prequel, Tunnel Vision can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

The present day story line of the girl’s investigation into Mandy’s murder could have easily unraveled on its own but Davis takes the reader deeper. Alongside the present search for justice, Mandy and Nickel’s stories are told. I really enjoyed this multi-layered approach. Immersed in one chapter about June and Betty, I couldn’t wait to get to the next to see what was happening in Mandy’s story line, and vice versa.

As familiar as I am with Davis’s writing style, I was still startled by the darkness and violence both explicit and implicit in Tunnel Vision. I love how Davis accomplishes this time and time again. Perhaps most of the edginess I’ve come to expect in Davis’s novels is within Nickel’s character, and to some extent Betty’s.

Although it is lighter than Davis’ most recent works and its prequel was considered a YA novel, Tunnel Vision is by no means suited for a young adult audience. It takes a close look at the underbelly of a well-known Michigan city. As such, its phraseology and subject matter—drug addicts, prostitution, murder, and physical abuse, just to name a few—would be best enjoyed by mature readers.

Davis’ latest literary offering is one of those books where it ends before you are ready for it to end. That is, I wanted to be a part of Nickel, Betty, and June’s life for just a bit longer. I hope we see Nickel return once again. In the meantime, Davis is planning to release the first book of a new series later this year. I look forward to reading Weavers, the first installment of his planned trilogy.

Reviewed by Libby

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Rating Report
Overall: four-half-stars

About Libby

Libby started with Author Exposure as the book review editor and has evolved into the AE site editor. She was the creator and interviewer for the What's Next feature and still manages to squeeze in reviews of her own.

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