Review: Dallas Mullican – The Dark Age (Marlowe Gentry Book 2)

Review: Dallas Mullican – The Dark Age (Marlowe Gentry Book 2)


Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Scarlet Galleon Publications
Publication Date: 17th December 2017
Pages: 431




A copy of The Dark Age (Marlowe Gentry Book 2) was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Dallas Mullican, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Scarlet Galleon Publications.

So, a while ago this Dallas Mullican fella asks me if I would like to read and review his first book A Coin for Charon. I gave in and read it and it was quite honestly, one of the best books I have read in years. A thriller with a bit of a difference. Brilliant characters and a fantastic story. Then things take a bit of an unexpected turn and he disappears for a while. No sign of the books, no sign of him. So, all of a sudden, his books get picked up by the rather splendid Scarlet Galleon, and book two is on the verge of coming out, and he bloody pesters me for another review. I couldn’t really say no. I was just hoping that book two would continue where book one left off and not be a bit of a disappointment as so many sequels, or book two’s in a series can be.

This is what I thought.

Marlowe Gentry and his team have been selected to head up a new department, specifically chasing after serial killers. The powers that be want serious crimes like that to be nipped in the bud, and reckon Gentry can do it. They have an added addition of Kline. She is ex FBI. Gentry wonders why she is “ex” and hopes this isn’t a bad thing.

Evan Marshall has lost loved ones in his family. He is a deeply religious man and his suffering makes him doubt his faith in God and he wants to test his master’s faith in him. He soon gets the nickname of The Heretic, and becomes Gentry’s new target.

Add into the mix a troublesome home life and an underworld gang lord out for his blood and this is not going to be an easy journey for Gentry.

OK so here I go with another review of a book two where I obviously cannot give away any spoilers of book one. This is difficult. One thing I will say is that other than some of the character building you would miss from book one, this is one you could pick up as a stand-alone. I would highly recommend book one though.

Characters in this one are much the same as book one apart from the villains.

Gentry is superb. A perfect leader of the department. A perfect cop, doing everything by the book but not averse to turning a blind eye to things if he thinks it is the right thing to do. Spence is his number two. Again, perfectly dependable and of exactly the same make up as Gentry. Koop is the medical examiner who has been seconded to the team. A bit out of his depth on the police side of things but unreplaceable all the same. Kline is the newbie. She is a bit timid but has the perfect mind for analysing cases in depth. She has secrets though, and needs to get over them.

The villain in this one again, is totally different to any villain you will meet anywhere else. Yeah, he is killing people. Yeah, he is doing it in a brutal, ritualistic way. But, he is a normal man, consumed by grief and disappointment. You can’t help but feel sorry for him a lot of the time because of the torment he is going through.

The thing that I love about Dallas Mullican’s writing is how he drags you into the story, but more so, into the lives of the characters. In book one, you learn all you need to know about Gentry and rightly so as he is the main man. In this book you get more of an insight into Spence and Koop. Spence has his own side story in this book and you cannot help but love the man. He is the sort of fella you would love to go for a beer with and also would be more than glad to have watching your back. Koop is a character coming out of his shell and his scenes with Spence are fantastic. They have developed a love hate thing reminiscent of Angel and Louis in the Charlie Parker books. Hmmm there is that comparison to John Connolly again. I think I need to contact Mr Connolly and let him know he has some serious competition here.

Anyway, Mr Mullican develops characters that you can relate to. I know it’s an old cliché, but you can. They aren’t super heroes. They aren’t invincible. They are normal people who get hurt and laugh and cry and it is nice to see. Makes things more believable.

The plot is pretty straightforward. This is another thing I really like about this style of writing because it doesn’t make it complicated to the point where you lose your way, and interest, in the story. There is a serial killer on the loose and he needs to be stopped. Gentry and his team have to do the stopping. Simple. Oh, and there is Spence’s side story. Oh, and there is the other side story where Gentry is harassed by the gang lord. Mix them all together and shuggle them about a bit and it makes for another fantastic story that is full of tension, full of thrills, full of blood and sometimes brutal torture that will make you wince, full of laughs and full of cry’s.

Dallas Mullican is a fantastic writer. There is no other way of putting it. I could again use cliché after cliché, but you seriously need to read his stuff to appreciate just how good he is. Like I say, you love his characters from the outset. You laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry and almost shit when they shit. The plots are believable. They are invigorating and will leave you breathless at times and sobbing at others, but they are plots and storylines that could happen anywhere in the world at any time of the day. To turn sometimes mundane things like that into something you can read and really enjoy like this is not an easy task.

These are thrillers, of that there is no doubt. But, and this is a big but, they always flirt with the evil, the supernatural, the occult. It is always on the periphery of the story but just never steps across that line to make it horror or supernatural. For a horror fan you would think I would be annoyed at that but it’s the complete opposite. I love the way he never goes there. It’s like the unspoken word, you know it’s there and hold your breath until you know if he goes there or not. I hope he does some day because I know he would be masterful at it as well.

Book two is equally as strong, if not stronger than book one. I can’t say that about most series I read. I love the possibilities this one has. I know that Dallas Mullican will keep it fresh and new. He has the talent for it and the imagination to make dozens of stories for Marlowe Gentry. If he chooses to do so of course. I really hope he does.

To summarise: super super stuff full of wonderful characters and stories that mix together to give you a wonderful ride. This starts slower than book one but finishes with a bang. I can’t wait for more.

Highest possible recommendation……..again. Bravo Mr Mullican.


General rating:
☆☆☆☆☆ it would get 6 if I could!

Thriller rating:
☆☆☆☆☆ it will thrill the pants off you!


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Book Synopsis:

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” – Matthew 27:46

The Heretic knows they lied. Now, he will make them confess.

The first murder, a small-town pastor burned at the stake, seems personal…an act of rage committed on impulse. But when a second victim is found brutally tortured to death, Detective Marlowe Gentry realizes he’s dealing with a serial killer who is drawing inspiration from the Inquisition.

The killer’s methods grow more gruesome with each victim. He’s escalating, racing toward an endgame, but how far will The Heretic go to punish those who’ve betrayed him?

Can Gentry stop him before the ultimate trial has been exacted? Only time will tell. But, unfortunately, time is running out . . .




After spending twenty years as the lead singer of a progressive metal band, Dallas Mullican turned his creative impulses toward writing. Raised on King, Barker, and McCammon, he moved on to Poe and Lovecraft, enamored with the macabre. During his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he received degrees in English and Philosophy, Dallas developed a love for the Existentialists, Shakespeare, Faulkner, and many more great authors and thinkers. Incorporating this wide array of influences, he entices the reader to fear the bump in the night, think about the nature of reality, and question the motives of their fellow humans.

A pariah of the Deep South, Dallas doesn’t understand NASCAR, hates Southern rock and country music, and believes the great outdoors consists of walking to the mailbox and back. He remains a metalhead at heart, and can be easily recognized by his bald head and Iron Maiden t-shirt.

And for more about Dallas, visit his site or find him on social media:

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