Book review: Dark Vision by Debbie Johnson
Mystic monarchs, vampire bands, spectral monks, haunted hacks and close encounters of an unexpected kind with an entire pantheon of deities… Dark Vision has it all.
High gods, low gods, middle management gods, rock gods and a couple of goddesses, albeit not of the domestic variety, are all thrown into the mix in Debbie Johnson’s debut novel.
This roisterous romp through Celtic mythology – tweaked for the 21st Century – and modern Merseyside comes with a side helping of some sensational Scouse humour and a gutsy tongue that remains firmly in the cheek.
Set mainly in Liverpool, with a city break to Dublin and an away-day to the land of the blessed, or Tir na Nog, the main protagonist is Lily McCain, a music journalist with a tendency to see a grisly future for anybody unfortunate enough to brush shoulders with her.
Lily is forced to get in touch with her inner goddess after meeting a Celtic warrior with berserker characteristics. And that is when the fun begins.
Men in black chase Lily through Liverpool’s atmospheric streets where she meets a host of colourful, larger-than-life characters who are out of this world – in more ways than one.
All this paranormal activity can mean only one thing… Lily has to save the world.
But Lily has her own demons to deal with, and can do without any more thank you. And anyway, is this world such a big deal? Lily’s not so sure. It hasn’t always been that great as far as she can see…
Dark Vision makes for an exuberant read with sinister undertones. Debbie Johnson’s sharp-edged, witty writing takes the reader to places that are great fun but rapidly become menacing and uncomfortable.
The lonely little girl, the outsider, the misfit, the ill-fated… real life has a habit of breaking through at disturbing intervals, making Dark Vision rather more than your average fantasy novel.
Lily’s wicked way with wit makes for a robust and attractive character while there is clearly much more than first meets the eye to her bubbly, kick-ass cohort Carmel.
Bring on the sequel!
(Del Rey, paperback, £8.99)