Light and Dark by Dan Sherven is a story of a white cop with a troubled past, Eric, who is desperately chasing an indigenous criminal, Xavier, in an unnamed city in Canada.
This story has some heavy fiction elements, with a large focus on character flaws and less focus on some grounding details. Throughout the course of this fast-paced thrill-ride, the reader is never actually told where the story takes place, other than that it's in Canada, but you will follow each character as they fight their own demons, whether it's substance-abuse or the painful memory of an ex-wife.
Since some of the characters do travel out of the unnamed city to other towns and provinces, I would have preferred to have names for the places so that I could have some idea of the geography in my mind. The lack of that was a detriment to keeping a clear idea of what was happening as the story moved and ultimately caused me to give a lower final score than I otherwise might have.
Dan Sherven has a degree in philosophy, which shows periodically throughout the book in the form of newspaper articles, which talk about different real-world troubles and provides a philosophical view. These articles tend to only be tangentially related to the story, but the character-response to them helps deepen the readers' understanding of what motivates them or gives certain insights into their past.
There are situations in the book that are born of convenience. The odds of people randomly running into each other repeatedly in a fairly large city while one is a fugitive, for example, are pretty low. Some might see this as immersion-breaking, but I was personally able to get past it with a healthy dose of suspension-of-disbelief. There are a few grammatical mistakes midway and later on, but they are few and far between. The intended meaning is fairly clear, and it is definitely not what should make or break this book if you're considering reading it.
The perspective in this story tends to shift quite frequently. Eric and Xavier are the two main characters, but you will experience the story sitting on the shoulders of nearly half a dozen characters throughout the course of the book. Sometimes the perspective shift will be as quick as a single paragraph, and other times you will make it through several pages without a shift. This does affect the pacing, which is mostly breakneck, but not terribly so as most of the shifts retain the pacing as what came before it. It's something to be aware of, but it was not something that really affected my overall experience.
As far as race is concerned, I'll admit I'm not entirely sure what this book was trying to say. It begins by describing the criminal, Xavier, as an indigenous man, and the gangs and other criminals in the story (and most of the victims) are also indigenous. Eric is described as a white man, as is the majority of the police department. Aside from these racial descriptions, nothing is really dependent on race. By these early descriptions, it sounds as though there is going to be some sort of commentary, but it offers more of a perspective on people from low socioeconomic status than it does of racial profiling. Had Xavier been black, white, Asian, or Latino I don't think it would have changed the story a whole lot. Many of the side characters would need to be renamed if their race was changed, but the story made them out to be more a product of their environment rather than a result of their race. Eric, our white cop, is even described as not being a racist, and though he gets personally involved in the investigation he never hurls a slur or makes an action that was racially motivated.
All in all, if you're looking for a fast-paced thriller that's all about the chase, this is a good, short, inexpensive read. As far as stories go, I'd give it 6/10.
This blog is for Erebus to review the books of others. He will talk about somethings that were done well, done not so well, and then give a personal rating on the books. This rating is the opinion of Erebus and does not depict the opinions of any organizations Erebus is apart of.
Erebus Esprit is a fantasy writer from the United States. He primarily writes Sword & Sorcery Fantasy and Urban Fantasy.