Dream of the Serpent

Alan Ryker. DarkFuse (www.darkfuse.com), $16.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-937771-94-2
“What happens when a couple who would give everything for each other both try to give everything?” narrator Cody Miller’s father asks, tidily encapsulating the premise of Ryker’s absorbing but not fully realized take on parallel timelines. A phone call from Cody’s fiancée, Madison, distracts him while he’s cleaning a deep fryer; the subsequent fiery explosion horribly disfigures and disables him. While enduring an agonizing rehabilitation captured in vividly gruesome detail, he makes Madison feel guilty for her part in the accident. Cody experiences intense visions of alternate outcomes to the accident, and he awakens one morning in a world in which the accident never took place—and Madison has vanished. The dissonance between these two overlapping lives is jarring at times. A fleetingly intriguing pursuit of a mystery man named Ouroboros winds through a preposterous series of violent altercations to a ponderously trite confrontation. Ryker spends too many pages on the shady denizens of murky warehouses and too few traversing the more fertile landscape of simultaneous and conflicting realities. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Genre: Fiction
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