Michael has no idea that a case of the flu will change his life forever, but a few scant days later, after he must stay home while his family goes on vacation, he finds out he has lost his parents to a mugging gone wrong and his brother is missing. Now all alone, Michael recalls the one comfort he has, which includes a recurring strangely erotic dream of a dark-eyed stranger who calls him “beautiful.” However, even that is not enough to keep Michael from pulling up stakes and moving away from the pain of losing his family. Now in Mystic Bay, Michael is starting over and has found a few friends along the way, including his building manager, Paul, and Paul’s boyfriend, Andy. What Michael doesn’t know is that the man in his dreams is actually real, the friends he is now hanging with are much more than they seem, and a deadly stalker is about to make everything Michael has ever believed shift in a seismic way.
Giving us a world where paranormal beings are as common as humans, M.A. Church’s Night’s Fall is quite an action-packed story. There is a lot to unpack in this book, not the least of which is a world where not only things like vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, and elementals exist, but there is also a supernatural council that tracks their behavior and sends out its guardians to investigate and destroy any who get out of hand. Paul, Michael’s new landlord, is one such guardian. Andy, his lover, is a fire elemental, and the man in Michaels’s dreams, Clay, is a vampire.
While I really enjoyed the various paranormal beings, I did take notice that there is virtually no world building going on in this novel. I felt as though the lack of any backstory as to how this idea of an earth with such a defined hierarchy began and continues to exist is a weak point in the story. As the plot progresses, we catch snippets of how refined and coordinated the council’s reach is, yet we barely scratch the surface of who is running the show, so to speak. Paul, for instance, refers to them often. Clay and Paul meet with the council and do their bidding, but we never meet any of the members of this shadowy body.
Alongside this issue is how quickly Michael, who is absolutely shocked to discover paranormals actually exist, capitulates into being part of the team, so to speak. I know he and Clay have history in dreams, but he so suddenly decides not only to date Clay, but then be bonded to him as his soul mate and later, much more. It often felt as though one chapter saw Michael struggling with it all and the next had him all in and shrugging at his life-changing actions. The suddenness of it all sometimes made my head spin.
However, there is also some really good storytelling going on here. For instance, the stalker who is after Michael provides a nice twist to the story and I hope in future installments we learn even more about him. We do get a solid glimpse of his and Clay’s past and why the stalker is after Michael. Also, the relationship between Michael and Clay is quite lovely and romantic; it made me laugh how Michael sometimes insisted Clay’s bossy ways be reined in and romance be substituted for commands. I also really enjoy Paul and Andy and sincerely hope they get featured in a novel all their own. I would love to learn more about them and their gifts, as well as how they got together. Andy provides some real comic relief in this story and he often reminds me of a naughty child when it comes to his diet and his humor.
I grant that there are a few glitches in Night’s Fall, but there is also more than enough of a compelling storyline to make me eager for the next part in this new series. I look forward to reading more about this interesting group and watching them bring the bad guys down—particularly Michael’s stalker.