Crucifix Point by Steven Montano
Steven Montano was the first indie author I really clicked with. If I had more time, I would already be caught up with this man’s prolific output instead of still just struggling to keep pace (and envying his time-management skills). Works like “Crucifix Point” remind me why I stay in that fight.
A shorter piece in the Blood Skies universe, this is Montano at his best and worst, which fortunately is still rather good. Certain adjectives are overused, and some passages slip off that tightrope between “lyrical” and “overwritten.” One pop culture reference was particularly jarring to me as well, even if I do understand why it’s there. These nits to pick pale before the good, though. The first chapter, for instance, provides a monstrously beautiful setting that cries out not just to be filmed but shown on an IMAX screen. And from the second chapter on, the story and the action simply do not let up. From a long-running war to a citadel under siege to allies of convenience who may well by neither, we’re shown something new on nearly every Kindle screen, whether a twist in the plot, an image that’ll stay with you long after you finish (these vampires do not sparkle), or just the overall genre-mashing fun and wish-I’d-come-up-with-that coolness that sold me on Montano as a writer in the first place.
This wealth of imagination can be a drawback as well as a strength. “Crucifix Point” is filled with so many amazing characters, settings, and ideas, I repeatedly caught myself wishing this had been a full-blown novel. I wanted more time to linger in this world and find out more. Then again, if you’re going to have a complaint about a piece of writing, this is the definitely the one to have.
Even with a few minor flaws, “Crucifix Point” is a great read, which is always the bottom line.
In the time after The Black, a group of mercenary heroes do battle with the Ebon Cities to protect humankind.
Set between BLACK SCARS and SOULRAZOR, this 65-page short story details an early team mission, as Cross, Danica, Kane, Tayanna and Kendrick go to investigate a series of mysterious vanishings in the wastelands. Challenged by vampires and rival mercenaries, Cross and his team will learn the true fate of those killed during the massacre at Crucifix Point…but only if they can first escape a strange redoubt beset by primitive undead invaders.