Martin Dash is beautiful, charismatic, charming, and universally adored by everyone who meets him. He’s almost a perfect man, except for the one thing he lacks: emotion. Eternally devoid of any real semblance of empathy, self-identity, or passion, Martin Dash can only wander through his gifted path with nothing to give in return for the adoration and wonder afforded to him by fate.
Anyone who truly comes to know Martin Dash could agree that there lies nothing below his heavenly veneer; anyone except her. One woman claims to see something deep inside the man, and takes on a journey into the man’s past to discover whether the man can ever truly be drawn back from the shadows of his empty soul. Murder, mystery, sexuality, and even a hint of romance, the first step in solving the enigma arrives in Martin Dash by Andy Bailey.
Martin Dash is an oddity in many ways, both the eponymous character himself and the book he names. The book is written in snatches of third-person introspection that jumps to what seems at first to be anecdotes of our protagonist, the eponymous Martin Dash. There’s a real, consistent feeling of detachment from the human race we experience through Martin Dash, who is both welcomed and sectioned off emotionally by his peers, which feels completely appropriate for the story as a whole.
We approach Martin at an arm’s length for the entire book, even when circumstances should feel a little more intimate by all indicators. This is heightened by viewing the world through Susan’s eyes as she is properly introduced to the man and his particular quirks are fully explained. As she gets wrapped up in the story, so are we. It’s done oh-so-subtly and the particular approach taken by the author is done just right for the story. Of course, while Martin Dash might be a compelling mystery, he’s not the only character with a story to tell or intriguing quirks about him, either.
This book really pulls off everything it sets out to do. It has a lot of success in the purposeful alienation and the balancing act of keeping things interesting without the whole book feeling like a hollow ego-piece for some unsympathetic monster. The story isn’t concluded in this part of the (planned) trilogy, however what we have in this title is plenty on its own and you won’t feel short-changed.
Martin Dash is a compelling character study with multiple dimensions to explore and odd little quirks to unfold. To add to its successes, the cover is a beautiful piece of work that really feels right for the book: a bit empty, a bit cold, but so very mysterious and compelling in what it has to show. It’s a great novel with just enough wit mixed in with the people and their puzzles that’s sure to suck you into the off-color world just beneath the presentable surface.
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