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10 thoughts on “Undertow

  1. Maja (The Nocturnal Library) Maja (The Nocturnal Library) says:

    Nothing like a good anti hero to brighten up one’s day And in the army of anti heroes I’ve met in my life Ethan Banning is without doubt one of the very best He is private detective who constantly struggles with what he calls the Voice and what is in fact a demon that possessed him during one of his cases The Voice isn’t taking it easy on Ethan It constantly whispers into his ear telling him to hurt people and even kill them The two are in a constant battle and make no mistake Ethan is not winning There are times when his plight is so terrible so utterly humiliating that we get a sudden ad strong urge to step in and put him out of his misery Just imagine and evil creature living inside of you able to use you as its mouthpiece and speak impossibly vile things with your very own lips Poor Ethan is he not? There is just enough shame and regret in him to make our guts clench in sympathy although Ethan sometimes makes even that extremely hard But even demon possessed and miserable Ethan must do his job to survive and his strength lies in finding missing persons When a case lands on his table a sort of uid pro uo arrangement Ethan sets out to find a missing college professor The investigation takes Ethan to Beacon’s Point a small town by the ocean with a very xenophobic population Beacon’s Point makes an extremely claustrophobic setting and even though Ethan finds a sidekick of sorts not counting his dog Mutt of course all doors are closed to him and his investigation is extremely difficult There are two preuel novellas you can read before going into this book – one before Ethan was possessed and one after – but it’s not necessary to read them in order to enjoy this novel Ethan will tell you all you need to know and truth be told you don’t really need to know much And anyway the Voice will tell you than you ever wanted to hearNaomi Clark is an experienced author and it shows This is dark urban fantasy folks dark and depressing but certainly worth your time

  2. Frank Errington Frank Errington says:

    45 of 5 Stars Review CopyI am not a fan of jumping into a series of novels mid stream That being said I was well into Undertow An Ethan Banning Novel before realizing this was book three in an established series But by that time I was having so much fun I couldn't put it downThe previous books in the series are Ungrateful Dead and Demonized just in case you want to start at the beginning I will say this it's not necessary to read those books first as Naomi Clark does a nice job in getting the reader up to speed it's just that every once in a while I found myself wishing I had on Ethan Banning's back storyUndertow An Ethan Banning Novel is told in a first person narrative with a super snarky attitude and very colorful language Ethan Banning is a Private Investigator and he's possessed by a demon who is constantly telling him what to do sometimes out loudIn this story Banning and his dog Mutt take a job from a professor who may be able to help rid Ethan of his unwanted guest but first he must find a missing person The trail leads them to Beacon's Point and an apprentice necromancer who guards a portal to the other side and there are people in this town who are trying to bring over a sea demon to demon to do their biddingCorey was young and shiny and full of idealism It was kinda sweet Me I waswell not young rusted and full of antipsychotics so I figured my opinions on anything never mind necromancy didn't count for muchIt is a fine line that is walked when writing the fantastical and Naomi Clark walks it well making the unbelievable believable In Ethan Banning she has created a wonderful anti hero who often does as much harm as good but you can't help but cheer for the guy At some point I'm going to have to go back and read the earlier books in the series and yes there are adventures on the wayUndertow An Ethan Banning Novel is published by Ragnarok Publications and is available through comHighly recommended

  3. Seth Skorkowsky Seth Skorkowsky says:

    Take noir classic PI Sam Spade mix in Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth and add a dash of The Exorcists and you'll have an idea of what Undertow is likeHere we meet Private Investigator Ethan Banning Ethan is a down on his luck PI which means he's strapped for cash drinks too much and demonically possessed The Voice as Ethan calls it is a nasty little demon that wants nothing than to destroy him Banning has tried and failed to rid himself of this horror and his newest case to find a missing woman promises to pay him with a successful exorcismThe flow of the novel is very uick Clark pulls no punches in bringing in the horror and Ethan Banning is a flawed and tortured hero or anti hero to but it honestly The Voice is delightfully ghoulish and we get to follow Ethan's decent into madness as he struggles to suppress the monster inside him I was a bit worried that The Voice might be cute or serve as some comic relief and was extremely happy to see that The Voice is exactly how a demon should be Pure Damned Evil If it says something funny which does happen once or twice it's seriously dark humor Otherwise The Voice is a pushing Ethan to kill self mutilate and flashes graphic horrors though Ethan's mind The story itself reads very smoothly We meet a good but small cast of characters The body count is high and the end is a good surprise

  4. Seregil of Rhiminee Seregil of Rhiminee says:

    Originally published at RisingshadowNaomi Clark's Undertow was a nice surprise for me because it turned out to be good entertainment It's a surprisingly good and entertaining urban fantasy novelI've often mentioned to people that I'm difficult to please when it comes to urban fantasy I confess that I tend to be very skeptical concerning the uality and style of modern urban fantasy novels Fortunately every once in a while I've come across a few interesting and well written modern urban fantasy novels that have had uality and style in them Undertow is one of these novels because in my opinion it proudly stands head and shoulders above what has become the norm for modern urban fantasy novels There's enough style brutality surprises and dark humour in it to please even a jaded and skeptical urban fantasy reader like meI've heard that Naomi Clark has previously written two stories about Ethan Banning These stories are called Ungrateful Dead and Demonized I haven't read them so I can't say anything about them but I'm tempted to take a look at them because I liked this novel It's good that you don't necessarily have to read them in order to understand what's happening in this novel because this novel can be read as a standalone novelHere's information about the storyEthan Banning a demon possessed private investigator accepts a job from Professor Benedict Walters The professor may be able to assist Ethan in getting rid of the demon Unfortunately Ethan has to find a missing person a colleague of the professor Heather Brooke Blair first before the professor will do anything Ethan will also have to give up drinking and smoking because the professor believes that it will be good for him and will help him to get rid of the demon Ethan's assignment takes him and his dog to Beacon's Point where strange things happen Ethan thinks that the assignment will be easy but he soon finds out that things aren't as simple as he thought they'd beHere's a bit information about Ethan BanningEthan is a delightfully bad ass private investigator who's possessed by a demon The Voice constantly tells Ethan what to do He's tired of hearing the Voice and he wants to get rid of it but the demon is strong and getting rid of it isn't easy Ethan uses drinks porn and sleeping pills to keep bursts of anger and violence locked inside him Although Ethan is a bad ass private investigator he also has a tender side because he loves his dog Mutt very muchThe demon's opinions and suggestions are morbid and wickedly funny because it tries to get Ethan to do things that he doesn't want to do It was enjoyable to read about how Ethan fought against the Voice and tried to stop it from overpowering his self control Ethan uses medication antipsychotics to control the urges to hurt other people if Ethan doesn't control himself he's able to hurt and even kill other peopleI have to mention that it was a pleasure to read about the demon's thoughts when Ethan arrived in Beacon's Point The demon's thoughts about the place were darkly funny I won't say what kind of thoughts the demon has but I'm sure that all readers who love dark and black humour will enjoy reading about themCorey Decker a young necromancer is an interesting character who dresses as a Goth I enjoyed reading about his conversations with Ethan because they were very entertaining because they talked about all kinds of things including supernatural entitiesThe author uses first person narrative mode in this novel This narrative mode works perfectly because Ethan is a flawed person and has uite an attitude His opinions and thoughts about things are fantastically sarcastic funny and even offensive he easily insults peopleAs you may have already guessed this novel contains uite a lot of dark and sarcastic humour I think it's great that the author has had courage to add this kind of humour to the novel I've always loved dark and sarcastic humour so it was very entertaining for me to read this novelMost of the happenings take place in Beacon's Point which is an interesting place because the houses and stores look weathered and shabby Although the place is uaint it seems to have an atmosphere of decay and depression What makes Beacon's Point an especially interesting place is that it's a portal to the Pale World that allows spirits etc to enter this worldThere are interesting references to Lovecraftian names and elements in this novel and there are even references to Väinämöinen and Iku Turso from The Kalevala in this novel As a Finn I found it interesting that the author used names from The Kalevala There are probably readers out there who are unfamiliar with The Kalevala so it's good to mention that The Kalevala is a 19th century work of epic poetry compiled by Elias Lönnrot from Karelian and Finnish oral folklore and mythologyBecause I enjoyed reading this novel I look forward to reading the seuel Descent It'll be fun to read what happens next to EthanNaomi Clark's Undertow is good escapism for everybody who enjoyes reading urban fantasy novels It's a novel that it is very difficult to put down once you've started reading it because the story moves fast forward and the protagonist is flawed in an interesting way It's an entertaining urban fantasy novelMy final words are Naomi Clark's Undertow is surprisingly entertaining and gripping urban fantasy

  5. Sveto Manev Sveto Manev says:

    Undertow is the first novel in Naomi Clark’s Ethan Banning series published by Ragnarok Publication It’s a fast paced and stylish mix of Urban Fantasy and Lovecraftian horror with a hint of Supernatural the show in it The setting is well realised and authentic and the characters are charming enough to win you over and keep you turning the pages The novel’s most memorable feature? Mutt the Dog – hands downUndertow follows Private Investigator Ethan Banning as he struggles to find a way to rid himself of the demon possessing him He has already tried everything from an old fashioned exorcism through voodoo to witchcraft and nothing has helped He’s desperate to stop the nightmares and the evil urges that fill him Professor Benedict Walters thinks he can exorcise Ethan with clean living and ancient history but he won’t do it for free Ethan’s got to track down Heather a missing colleague of Walters in the uaint and creepy seaside town of Beacon’s Point It should be simplebut Heather may not want to be found Even if Ethan can crack the case he’s still got to deal with a trainee necromancer his own fading self control and an ancient entity that terrifies Ethan’s own demonic denizenTo be perfectly honest Undertow left me feeling a little conflicted There’s a lot to enjoy in the novel – the writing the mythology the character interactions all is top notch The main protagonist Ethan is a likeable character with a distinctive voice and the relationship he shares with his dog Mutt is sure to make you feel all fuzzy inside even if you’re a die hard cats’ lover Then there’s the Voice – the name Ethan uses for the demon possessing him Naomi Clark has done a great job of making the demon both menacing and somewhat comical with his constant taunts insults and violent urges all of which made me laugh on than one occasion Okay maybe I have a sadistic sense of humour who knows? Point is the Voice has some of the best one liners in the novel In fact at times I found myself wishing I could read a verbal sparring match between the Voice and True Blood’s Pam Just for the gigglesAnother highlight for me was the necromancer Gabriel Gravebane not his real name so don’t roll your eyes who pretty much plays Watson to Ethan’s unconventional Sherlock The two develop a fast friendship and share a number of exciting adventures that will surely appeal to fans of Supernatural A lot of the banter is classic Sam and Dean Which surely is a good thing?Characters aside Naomi Clark has an excellent sense of humour On than one occasion while reading the novel I found myself thinking “Well this sounds like H P Lovecraft” or “And here comes Cthulhu” My inner dialogue is lame like that deal with it Funnily enough Ethan seems to think the same thing and even points it out which I thought was brilliant Call it a little ‘geek out’ momentTwo other things about Undertow I liked the genuine description of Ethan’s struggle with his nicotine and alcohol addiction and with trying to stay clean of both and the fact that unlike most Urban Fantasy heroes he actually has a reason to say the dumb things he says Let me explain from time to time the Voice would take over Ethan’s vocal cords and insult people who he really shouldn't be messing with Yes just like Harry Dresden and Anita Blake and Well pretty much all the snarky smartass protagonists in Urban Fantasy Maybe it’s just me but that’s always bothered me Why would you deliberately provoke people into punching you? What happened with good old fashioned self preservation? The way I see it Naomi Clark has found an excellent explanation the demon did itUnfortunately not everything about Undertow is perfect For starters the villain or villains is rather predictable and easy to guess and some of the supporting characters could have used ‘screen time’ so to speak Also I felt that the ending was somewhat rushed and came off as a bit of a letdown after all the build up throughout the novelTo be perfectly honest I have a couple of other issues with the last third of Undertow but can’t really talk about them without giving away important plot points Besides since this is the first novel in a series I'm willing to give Naomi Clark the benefit of the doubt and wait to see if some of my lingering uestions won’t be answered in the second instalment Bottom line is I enjoyed reading Undertow and will definitely be checking out the next Ethan Banning novel Descent Naomi Clark is a talented writer and her world building is vivid and complex hinting at much bigger and scarier things to come Both Ethan and Mutt are wonderful and exciting characters and the Voice is sure to stay with you long after the final pages Just make sure you don’t pay too much attention to whatever it is he’s whispering It won’t end wellUndertow by Naomi Clark is another great novel by Ragnarok Publications and a worthy edition to their ever growing catalogue To learn check out the publisher’s website and make sure to follow Naomi Clark on twitter

  6. C.T. Phipps C.T. Phipps says:

    I didn't know what to expect from Undertow when I picked it up I'd heard it was a well regarded urban fantasy novel but knew nothing about the premise characters or setting Much to my surprise it turned out to be one of the better ones I've read this year It's easily up there with Dan and some of the mid level Dresden Files books I think this is a series I'll follow and review as I do so The premise is Ethan Banning is a private investigator who through some fault of his own has gotten himself possessed by a demon This is not a suave or charming tempter but a disgusting beast which constantly encourages Ethan to torture and murder Ethan being a working class stiff usually manages to tune him out the same way I do the offensive background noise of my life Which ticks the demon off something fierce Despite the fact he's a got a handle on keeping it from killing people randomly Ethan still wants it out of his head To that end he seeks out a university professor who is an expert on the occult The professor wants Ethan to do him a favor first however and that ticks the whole ball rolling for our plot A plot which will involve ancient sea gods lovable teenage necromancers and virgin sacrifice Ethan is a likable enough lead as we see how his condition is a curse rather than a blessing in disguise He suffers diarrhea of the mouth and must keep a constant check on his emotions lest he Hulk out with uncontrollable rage The demon is one dimensional but occasionally shows signs of having been something once I like that hint as it offers a chance for the creature to grow Undertow has strong HP Lovecraft influences which get lampshaded later in the story There's a small New England town with a dark secret an ancient slumbering sea god and a cult out to bring him back to the world of the living It isn't directly set in the Cthulhu Mythos primarily due to the Christian influences of Ethan's possession but incorporates something similar with ease I hope we'll see use of these ancient evils as the fact they terrify Ethan's demon is excellent build up The supporting cast is excellent with a collection of oddballs and weirdos who are all entertaining to read about I liked everyone and wanted to see books about their interaction with Ethan I was especially fond of his pseudo Goth sidekick and hoped they'd become permanent partners at the end Ethan himself is a cheerfully unlikable lead with a lot of hangups which get him in trouble with the locals even without a demon egging him on If I have one complaint about Undertow it's the ending The book is funny entertaining and light hearted before suddenly swerving into territory similar to Hellblazer The ending body count is huge and removes a lot of characters from play I'd grown attached to Some may find this to be a good thing but I found it to be jarring Pick this up if you like the Dresden Files or Mercedes Thompson910

  7. Nathaniel Hanley Nathaniel Hanley says:

    This is fun story while also being incredibly dark Ethan Banning is a PI trying to do the right thing I say trying because his copilot reading around with him is a nasty demon straight outta the bad place telling him to do all sorts of bad things He wants to be rid of the monster inside of him but exorcism has failed To keep this thing at bay he self harms abuses smoking and alcohol and watches porn that goes beyond what is funSo when one of his only friends suggest that a professor might be able to help him in exchange for a job to find a missing colleague he takes the job He needs the money and if he can stop this demon it'll be worth it allReading this book felt like something Lovecraft would have tackled in the modern day The story has a sleepy town that is run down but everyone seems to be doing fine They don't take kindly to strangers and Ethan isn't exactly the most pleasant of people But there is going on here than a simple disappearance Here lies something sinister evil and perhaps even SUPERNATURALIt was hard to put this book down I finished it in a few hours I grabbed it after reading about it on the publisher's website and it seemed pretty cool It definitely is cool but I was not prepared for how dark this is The demon riding in Ethan's head is not a funny guy He is evil and he gives visions of disgusting deplorable acts and Ethan is traumatized by it all It would have been easy to make this into a buddy comedy with some turns to horror but the author made this into a dark thrill ride akin to watching someone suffer from intense mental illness There is some graphic violence and no one is here to hold your hand The only bright side to this book is Than's only companion his dog who knows his master is a good boy and only wants to play with Ethan What the devil inside of Ethan makes him see when he looks at his pooch is downright horrifying and made me turn my head for a few moments to regain myself One thing I will note is that this is not Ethan's first adventure The author introduces him in an entirely different book one I have not read and has had some short stories from earlier in his career available This is Ethan's big one though The author does a good job of showing us somethings from the past but doesn't infodump everything on our plate

  8. Eva Eva says:

    A natural follow up to the Sandman Slim series of books by Richard Kadrey for readers who aren't sure what to read after that Undertow by Naomi Clark is urban fantasy that's heavy on the world building the monsters and the characterization and less on the romance which to my delight was pretty much non existent especially considering the kind of whackjob Ethan Banning is Ethan Banning is an honest self deprecating self loathing main character who is upfront about his shortcomings and his struggle with the cacodemon stuck inside his head that interferes in his every waking moment and in his dreams He's also hilarious like an edgier version of John Taylor from the Nightside series by Simon R Green so fans of that will like BanningThe plot and pacing were great and although the book is heavy on the dark humour the story is compelling and will keep readers turning the pages to unravel the mystery of what the heck is going on with this unusual missing persons caseEthan's troubles with the Voicedemon could function as a metaphor for people who struggle with thoughts of suicide as well as extreme self doubt taken to dangerous proportions something I think everyone struggles with but especially creative typesAlthough I'm a reader who prefers neat resolutions and for loose ends to be tied up the author leaves the reader hanging on a few details that leave the potential open for unresolved conflict to come through in a future volume of the seriesOverall a highly recommended urban fantasy read that die hard fans of the genre must add to their bookshelves

  9. John John says:

    I will occasionally venture into Urban fantasy for an easier read straightforward plot and a nice change from epic fantasy Undertow did not disappoint About halfway through I found out that there are previous Ethan Banning related novels but Undertow is so self sufficient that it made no difference by not reading them Undertow is Book 1 in the new Banning series and it weaves the story well It follows a PI on a case to find a missing person in some eerie town near the ocean What makes things interesting is that Ethan is possessed by a demon One that tries to make him do the most incomprehensible things you could imagine Without giving away spoilers suffice it to say that Naomi Clark delivers a fine UF that makes the reader yearn for Banning It of course leaves the plot wide open at the end to make one anxious to venture back into Ethans distorted mind Naomi expertly details the environment without making it slow down the plot You could almost taste the sea or feel the ocean breeze Only downfall would be that the pacing seemed a bit odd and might benefit from a uicker pace Other than that it was a fun easy read and I look forward to following Banning around as he attempts to solve the case

  10. L.D. Rose L.D. Rose says:

    This is my absolute favorite book by Naomi Clark Ethan Banning is one of my favorite anti heroes of all time and Mutt is the best fictional dog on the planet This novel has everything you could ask for demonic possession dark humor monsters and bloodshed I've been a fan of Naomi's works for a long time and she seamlessly weaves a fascinating tale of a private investigator literally tortured by his demons trying to stay above water while fate keeps dragging him down The one liners are golden and the coastal setting gives the novel a Lovecraftian vibe Also the optimistic necromancer Corey Decker was a nice contrast to Ethan's jaded personality Undertow was an entertaining read all around and I highly recommend it if you're into dark urban fantasy with a hint of horror mystery and humorDefinitely looking forward to the next novel in the series Descent

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Undertow ❮Reading❯ ➶ Undertow ➮ Author Naomi Clark – PI Ethan Banning is a desperate man He’s desperate to rid himself of the demon possessing him He’s desperate to stop the nightmares and the evil urges it fills him with He’s so desperate he’s PI Ethan Banning is a desperate man He’s desperate to rid himself of the demon possessing him He’s desperate to stop the nightmares and the evil urges it fills him with He’s so desperate he’s agreed to uit smoking and drinking in exchange for help Professor Benedict Walters thinks he can exorcise Ethan with clean living and ancient history but he won’t do it for free Ethan’s got to track down Heather a missing colleague of Walters in the uaint and creepy seaside town of Beacon’s Point It should be simple But the locals are hostile and Heather may not want to be found Even if Ethan can crack the case he’s still got to deal with a trainee necromancer his own fading self control and an ancient entity that terrifies Ethan’s own personal demon Crack the case He may not even survive it.