Second Verse is the inaugural release of writer V. Folsom. His work is an intriguing noir-esque tale with supernatural elements and the seeds of some potentially fascinating characters. Ultimately this is a fun read, but it is by no means perfect.
The story revolves around the anti-hero Alexander McCarr. He’s a vulgar man for hire with just enough Sam Spade to drive home the noir feel of the story, but not over-the-top with the grit that could make him intolerable. In the opening, he is tasked by Cherry, filling the role of femme-fatale, to help her find someone. This sends the two off on a quest through a magic filled criminal underworld.
Being that this story takes place in a supernatural world, the way things like monsters and magic are handled is very important and to that, Folsom does a wonderful job. He leaves out all the glitter and gives us straight cause and effect descriptions. This helps give the world a brutal feel that other takes on modern fantasy lack. Couple this with McCarr’s sardonic view of things and you have a pretty solid vision of this world.
Now while Alexander McCarr is an interesting character, he’s also the source of my biggest problem with this story. He speaks with a thick accent, which permeates into the story’s first-person narrative. Everything is dripping with slang and vocal tics that can make things a little confusing at times. After just a few pages I couldn’t help feeling that the accent was overbearing. I definitely had to read a few paragraphs over to feel like I got a grip on what he was trying to say.
Some other minor problems could be fixed with at least one more readthrough by the author himself. There were some typos and grammatical mistakes. But nothing that made it unreadable. At their worst they were annoyances that didn’t do anything to hinder the story.
All in all, this was a story I didn’t regret reading and it left me wondering more about this universe and looking forward to the next story set in this universe. Also, for only a dollar I can look past my problems with it. V.Folsom has created something with potential that should be entertaining to read.
You can find this story on Amazon, here.