Beneath the Veil by Martin Kearns
Beneath the Veil is a dark urban fantasy story set in the US, book one of the Valor of Valhalla series. It opens with the dramatic aftermath of a road bridge collapse; David’s car is sinking into the Hudson river.
Watching the episode are a pair of supernatural beings; events get stranger when David is found upstream. He is taken to hospital but remains in a coma.
David’s girlfriend Rose works as a waitress; her shift is unusually quiet, but one customer is eating his way through the menu. When his behaviour turns nasty, horrors erupt which few could have anticipated. All around strange incidents are happening and people are disappearing.
David’s coma is also unnatural as he is gaining muscle and height, and his vital signs have the doctors excited about new medical history data.
The story provides the reader with a great mix of mythology and the supernatural, with a focus on Norse mythology. The narrative goes between David’s story from his position in a coma and the ‘real-world’ for his mother Chelsea, Rose and a retired detective. Of the two parts, I found that I preferred David’s adventures as they followed the mythological path, where the real world setting tended towards the horror genre.
I liked the Valhalla scenes particularly, while some of the journey to that point got a bit tedious. I wasn’t a fan of the constant mentioning of shows, films and books because I hadn’t seen or read them, so certain references meant nothing to me. A few times I thought that David came across as rather too perfect; even a hero needs to stay believable. However, these were just small issues.
Overall, a good start to a series and one recommended for fans of Norse mythology.
In a battle between two ancient evils, can one naïve young man become the last hope against powerful creatures of legend?
David Dolan thinks he’s already got the world figured out. But when a collapsed bridge plunges him into the icy Hudson, he’s pulled deep into the deadly realm that exists between life and death. And with his earthly form trapped in a coma, he’s vulnerable to the horde of demons hell-bent on his utter destruction.
Traversing the road to the afterlife, David seeks the wisdom and skills he needs to fight the demonic forces reigning havoc on his allies above ground. But as one hellish threat closes in on his defenseless body, David must defeat another terrifying fiend waiting in the shadows to use him…
Can David escape the world beneath the veil in time to stop the bloodshed?