cover image The Long Man

The Long Man

Steve Englehart, . . Tor, $25.99 (379pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-1730-8

An unintentionally absurd plot is all that stands out in this by-the-numbers magickal [sic] thriller, the sequel to 1981's The Point Man . Former DJ Max August, a near-immortal magician, loses both his mentor and his wife to the demon Aleksandra. Two decades later, an old friend brings him to the rescue of Dr. Pamela Blackwell, who has found a way to cure zombis. Her discovery may interfere with the nefarious supersecret Free Range Coalition, who of course want to take over the world. The plot is further muddled by such diverse elements as sarin gas, zombi rape used to torture a woman into revealing secrets (at Guantánamo Bay, no less) and a deaf-mute assassin who communicates via Speak & Spell. August and Blackwell dully run a clichéd gantlet of villains without seeming to notice the complete implausibility of their story. (Aug.)