Caffeine Nights Publishing
Cover design by Mark (Wills) Williams
Released from prison, and hacked off with a life of petty crime, Jim takes a new job: contract killing. But what happens when your first hit fails?
The man who hired Jim wants his money back. And then some. Jim has one week to raise it. Failure to do this, as well, could result in those seven days being his last. The situation is further complicated by a witness named Charlotte, who may not be quite what she seems.
The Race Against Time is a common device in noir fiction and was a hallmark of seminal authors like Cornell Woolrich (Phantom Lady, Deadline at Dawn), who wrote the living hell out of it. I encounter it often. What distinguishes Charlie Wade’s novel, the thing I enjoyed most about SEVEN DAZE, is the carefully-measured pace and what results from it.
Rather than give us a frenetic highlight reel–as many authors do with this type of set-up–Charlie Wade immerses us in Jim’s crumbling world. We are with him around the clock. And while that clock is ticking and ticking loudly, Wade handles the story with remarkable control, permitting us to share in Jim’s everyday observations, to skulk through crowds with him in search of a mark, to experience his anxiety over his relationship with Charlotte, partake in his mounting desperation. None of it is rushed, but explored with painstaking detail. This is a first-rate character study. I felt that I came to know Jim. Halfway through the book, I found myself already wishing that it was longer or the launch of a series.
In addition, SEVEN DAZE contains very effective humor, again used with restraint and well-placed, offering an occasional reprieve from the tension. Part Two begins with a twist that simultaneously calms Jim and intensifies his worries (no easy feat to pull off). It’s as if the first section is a firework cruising into the sky, the second a detonation of that missile into a blaze of possibilities. The supporting cast are well drawn. And because of the tone and approach of the final chapters, the ending caught me by surprise.
Buy it. Read it. Tell your friends.
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About the author:
SEVEN DAZE is Charlie Wade’s third novel. His short fiction has appeared online and in publications like Out of the Gutter and Off the Record. He is currently at work on a short story/prequel to SD and a crime novel told from a policeman’s point of view, featuring his character DI Britwell.
Charlie’s blog is called Batteries Aren’t Included.
He is on facebook at /charlie.wade.566.