Saturday, June 25, 2016

Book Review: Gray Widow's Walk by Dan Jolley

Video game and comic book writer Dan Jolley takes on the difficult task of creating a new superhero and succeeds with the Gray Widow. A young woman with the ability to teleport through darkness leaving behind a blaze of heat stalks the criminals of Atlanta in her dark gray body armor. I jumped at the chance to read this start of a trilogy for an honest review because the description intrigued me along with the long career of the author. I was also pleased to see a superhero story set in the city I used to live in.

The origin of Gray Widow is mysterious but her supernatural powers give Janey Sinclair the ability to fight the worst of the worst. Sinclair is a great character who has overcome a traumatic history to develop a strong sense of justice. In her alter ego life, she's a painter using her abilities to imbue the canvas with something more than just paint. She's mostly reclusive until she meets the young son of her apartment complex's owner and begins to allow someone into her life, but as in all superhero tales, forming bonds is never as easy as it is for the rest of us.

The villains of the story consist of a mysterious group that doesn't get fleshed out in this portion of the trilogy but they go around collecting up "augmented" individuals to do their bidding. The mysterious Stamford runs the operation as a worker in an organization known as Redfell along with another man named Vessler who has a freezing ability. They recruit Brenda Jorden who has the ability to seduce people with a superhuman mind control. From there, there are other superpowered villains like Simon and Sam. There was a missed opportunity to not give these villains unique names to remember. 

Simon is the most vicious of the villains with a stretching altered state that is incredibly deadly. The one complaint I have with this novel is the constant jumping from one character perspective to the next not allowing the reader to get to know some of the more interesting players and spending too much time on characters that don't appear as significant to the plot as the main players. Still, Jolley brings it all together in an exciting climax that will leave superhero fans on the edge of their seats as they read.

Gray Widow's Walk kicks of the Gray Widow trilogy with a flicker and bang introducing us to a new world of superpowered, or augmented, individuals and a greater agenda playing out. I would recommend this novel to fans looking for a new hero and ready to jump into a violent and dangerous world. The Gray Widow is a fun new character to check out, and I'll be waiting in anticipation for the next installment, Gray Widow's Web.

About the author: Dan Jolley started writing professionally at age nineteen. Beginning in comic books, he has since branched out into original novels, licensed-property novels, children’s books, and video games. His twenty-five- year career includes the YA sci-fi/espionage trilogy Alex Unlimited; the award-winning comic book mini-series Obergeist; the Eisner Award-nominated comic book mini-series JSA: The Liberty Files; and the Transformers video games War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron. Dan was co-writer of the world-wide-bestselling zombie/parkour game Dying Light, and lead writer of the Oculus Rift game Chronos. Dan lives somewhere in the northwest Georgia foothills with his wife Tracy and a handful of largely inert cats. Gray Widow’s Walk is his first adult novel.

Learn more about Dan by visiting his website,, and follow him on Twitter: @_DanJolley

Book Synopsis for Gray Widow’s Walk:  “The only thing in this world you can truly control is yourself.”
Janey Sinclair’s ability to teleport has always been a mystery to her. She tried for years to ignore it, but when tragedy shatters her life, Janey’s anger consumes her. She hones her fighting skills, steals a prototype suit of military body armor, and takes to the streets of Atlanta, venting her rage as the masked vigilante dubbed “the Gray Widow” by the press.
But Janey’s power, and her willingness to use it, plunges her into a conflict on a much grander scale than she had anticipated.
Soon she encounters Simon Grove, a bloodthirsty runaway with a shapeshifting ability gone horribly wrong…
Garrison Vessler, an ex-FBI agent and current private defense contractor, who holds some of the answers Janey’s been searching for…
And Tim Kapoor, the first person in years with a chance of breaking through Janey’s emotional shell—if she’ll let him.
But as Janey’s vigilantism gains worldwide attention, and her showdown with Simon Grove draws ever closer, the reason for her augmented abilities—hers and all the others like her—begins to reveal itself. Because, high above the Earth, other eyes are watching. And they have far-reaching plans…
Gray Widow’s Walk is book one of the Gray Widow Trilogy, to be followed by Gray Widow’s Web and Gray Widow’s War.

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