Greg F. Gifune is clearly a writer who knows he's onto a good thing. Shadowy conspiracies (often involving some element of the government), visions of demonic things, a broken and world-weary protagonist with more than a few questions about his sanity. These are the narrative elements that have comprised almost every book from him that I've read.
And The Devil's Breath is, by and large, cut from the same cloth.
The devil is in the details (ha!), so there are a few things about Gifune's latest release that slightly vary the formula. However basically, the reader follows the POV of Stan, a man with a shady past, who is ready to end his life when he himself comes knocking at the door and interrupts his plans. From there, Stan is drawn into an increasingly dark world where he begins to doubt his sanity, even as he uncovers information about a secret society that has nefarious plans aplenty.
In the hands of a lesser writer, The Devil's Breath could have been a mess. But with Gifune at the helm, the reader is guaranteed a quality story told with the effortless ease by a master wordsmith capable of stringing sentences together that create a whole truly greater than the sum of its parts.
It's just that I've read it all before - and no less than three times this year. Gifune's most recent release, Orphans of Wonderland, being perhaps the most similar; though Kingdom of Shadows comes very close. As a result, not even the excellent writing in The Devil's Breath could maintain my interest, as it began to feel overly familiar and somewhat bloated in length.
Here's hoping Gifune opts to stretch his scope and try something different in the near future. And even if he does not, I've already decided to space out working my way through his back catalogue to reduce the chances of getting the same kind of fatigue with any further of his books. They're too good to squander in such a way.
3 Metaphorical Dogs With a Bone for The Devil's Breath.
This review was based on an eARC distributed by DarkFuse via Netgalley.