Shadowmaster I: More or Less Than Human is the debut of a striking new mystery series that ably blends action, adventure, science fiction, and horror. Teeming with fascinating characters and hard-boiled dialogue, it's a page-turner built around deconstructing the mind of a serial killer.
I'd drawn my .45 caliber pistol before the severed head smacked the pavement. I hadn't moved fast enough. Now I stood there, useless and afraid, watching that ragged, red ball corkscrew along the semicircular driveway in front of Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. A succession of screams kept stride with it. One after another, people in the crowd jumped out of its way. An elderly gentleman in a white tux actually managed to hop over it. A shapely young blonde shrieked as it brushed her ankle.
Still wearing his gold-rimmed glasses, Simon Tate's neatly groomed head rolled into a two-foot-wide trough between the low curb on one side and the raised brick of the driveway on the other, ricocheted off the bumpers, continued down the hill, and bobbled out onto West Preston Street which was conveniently closed to traffic.
The rest of Simon Tate lay buttons down in front of the Meyerhoff’s curved floor-to-ceiling glass wall, separated from the living by a growing pool of red—not the muted crimson of the carpeting in the lobby but the bright scarlet of the floor mats in front of the ticket windows.
I stared into the night. Warm August humidity hung in the air, but it was ice-cold sweat that dripped from my forehead and ran into my eyes. It burned. I tried to blink it away.
Over a thousand music lovers had been celebrating Summerfest with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and nearly half the audience had gone outside for intermission. The smart half had remained in the air-conditioned lobby. Simon Tate hadn't been smart.
Adrian Kahler is the Shadowmaster, a psychologist turned detective. He has a Sherlock Holmes intellect, extrasensory perception that rivals Doctor Stephen Strange, and an ability to manipulate computers that even Steve Jobs would envy. From his fortress-like home, high above the Chesapeake Bay, he directs his two operatives. Stanley Egor is a former Navy SEAL who presents the visual impact of a Polish Shaquille O'Neal. Barry Sandler is a young empath, unable to control his evolving gift. He is an everyman caught between two supermen, Kahler with his extrasensory perception and Egor with his lethal SEAL skills. Barry says of himself, "My only useful talent is stubbornness."
A killer roams the streets of Baltimore. He decapitates his prey. He loves his family. He's respected by his friends. He remembers nothing of what he has done. He doesn't even realize that he's no longer human.
A unique series encompassing mystery, science fiction, and horror, Eric Safflind’s first installment of the Shadowmaster series is a white-knuckle story teeming with fascinating characters and razor sharp dialogue. Relentless tension drives the story forward as Safflind explores the nature of his characters while they deconstruct the mind of the killer and those who control him. A nail-biter from start to finish, melding multiple genres with effortless precision, Shadowmaster I: More or Less Than Human is a first-rate, groundbreaking thriller.