Last Train to Deadsville chronicles another chapter in the life of everyone’s favourite supernatural detective, Cal McDonald. These four issues find our leading man in-between cases during the most romantic time of the year, Valentine’s Day. Funny enough though, Cal cannot remember just what is so special about February the fourteenth, which knowing Cal, does not come as a surprise either. As he is pondering this with his buddy Mo’Lock, a case of demonic possession just happens to come knocking on his door. After dealing with the kid, his girlfriend Sabrina also comes knocking with a friendly reminder for Cal about the promise he made about a certain day. But all is not as it seems with the kid who was possessed and he, Sabrina and Mo’Lock must take a trip to the kid’s home town to save not only him, but everyone else as well.
When reading one of Cal’s adventures, one thing you can count on is that no two will ever be quite the same. Except for him winning in the end of course. Our irreverent detective can always be assured to bring his sarcastic brand of humour to the table as well, in what would otherwise be a fairly dark story and it is all down to his creator, Steve Niles. What is interesting to see with each passing series is how Niles manages to make the next one better than the last.
Having Sabrina join the cast to make our duo a triumvirate was one of the better innovations to hit the series and give it the little bit of extra tension that it needed. For all of Cal’s faults, she somehow loves him and does not give up on him, no matter how crazy he drives her. She is fun and tenacious, even a little spunky, and is a bright spot in an otherwise dark atmosphere.
Aiding Niles on this train to Deadsville is Kelley Jones whose work is also getting better with every passing issue. It is quite possible that he has never drawn a woman more beautiful than Sabrina within this series. It is also quite possible that he might not have drawn anything as hideous as the demonic creature that has taken over the town that appears in this book. Beauty and horror – a great combination if there ever was one. Jones may not be every person’s cup of tea, or bottle of beer or what have you, but he is perfectly suited for the horror genre and his Cal McDonald books are some of his best.
Being only a four issue miniseries and written with a pace in mind to match a train, you could read this book in twenty minutes. Some might call that a bad thing, but once in a while, all you need is a nice, short burst of pure, fun horror and that is what Steve Niles and Kelley Jones delivered in the latest Cal McDonald mystery.
4 out of 5