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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
In The Long Nights, the first book in the Carthage City Ghosts series by Tom Mock, a talented telepath faces the most challenging situation of his life. When a dead body wakes up in the most unexpected place in Carthage City Oldtown, Joe Kellerman faces the dreaded Nightwalker — and the stakes are high because if the vampire isn’t stopped, many will be contaminated. Joe must get access to the vampire’s memories and discover his victims before more of them wake to feed. But Joe’s life and mission are compromised when he becomes a suspect, slandered by a photojournalist with a dubious character. The only glimmer of hope comes from the visions Joe has of a young girl in yellow sneakers. Can he navigate the line between dream and reality, free himself from the darkness that invades his vision, and outwit what is left of the most powerful vampire? Only time will tell and time is what Joe doesn’t have.
In this tale, Tom Mock creates a compelling protagonist in Joe Kellerman who must track down the victims of a vampire before their thirst is aroused and they become bloodsucking monsters. However, Joe must deal with his own personal and psychological problems, including those brought about by powerful people who will manipulate the truth for their own benefit. It is painful to watch him descend into the dark recesses of his mind, struggling to stay lucid in a world where nothing is as it seems. The world-building is ingeniously conceived and expertly accomplished and readers find themselves transported into a unique and dark world where danger lurks in unsuspecting corners. The Long Nights is not your run-of-the-mill vampire story, and while there are gory, disturbing moments, the conflict focuses on the struggles of the psychic, a protagonist who must find lucidity in the midst of harrowing visions and being smeared by other characters to solve the crisis the town faces. The story has gorgeous prose and emotionally intense moments to match. Overall, it was a thrilling read.