Although you could consider Dead’s Haven from Nicholas Gagnier a stand alone novel, I personally believe reading at least Founding Fathers beforehand is the best way to approach reading Dead’s Haven. Having read Leonard the Liar, Founding Fathers and Mercy Road, the appearance of Alex Halford, Samantha Wallace, Rupert Smith, Olivia, Hale with long hair and rose tinted glasses and the mention of a girl named Grace, all come together in an intricate masterpiece of masterful storytelling and world building.
There is very little I can say which I haven’t said before about Gagnier’s writing. His characters lead and blossom, and his expert handling of multiple narratives in Dead’s Haven is reminiscent of Founding Fathers. The pace is new for Gagnier; it begins in media res, it’s punchy and tense. You follow the quiet, tentative footsteps of the protagonists and hope a twig does not crack beneath your feet either.
There is little I can say without spoiling a story which is the final step before Gagnier’s crescendo; the collision of humanity, morality and the Shroud (what we humans call purgatory, as Olivia tells Tim). All I can say is, Samantha Wallace stuns in this novel, more so than she did in Founding Fathers. In my head, I know what she looks like and who she is. She inspires me despite being paper and words. She finds peace in this story and I was overjoyed. If this is goodbye to her character, Gagnier did her justice. Her arc is brutal but beautiful.
There is little I can say, other than ‘Read it!’