The Horror Zine Review

Nightscape: Cynopolis

by David W. Edwards

Series: Nightscape (Book 2)
Paperback: 362 pages
Publisher: Imperiad Entertainment (October 4, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0989748731
ISBN-13: 978-0989748735


Nightscape: Cynopolis

By David W. Edwards

Review by Jessica Marie Baumgartner

David W Edwards’ wild ride of insanity whisks the reader through a lot of ups and downs. This novel takes place in the slums of Detroit and offers a wide range of characters to give us a feel for how corrupt and broken down things have gotten. From the very start the reader can sense that something is not quite right here. 

I have to say, The Eye of Hermanubis sections were my favorite part. The unsettled feeling of being left in the dark for the first part of the story is slightly eased by these sections that change the flow of the story, and offer a different tone between breaks. It’s something unique, written directly for the reader to connect with.

There is also strong sense of world building here. The reader is introduced to a city that is not so far gone from what Detroit could become in the future, and there’s a lot to it. The real story doesn’t seem to start revealing itself until about the third chapter and from there, twists open up to offer unexpected insight.

Some philosophical undertones round the story out, which I thought were a nice touch. I especially appreciated the line, “I’m convinced the first step in a real revolution is chaos.” Beautifully written and true in many cases. That line will stay with me and I always appreciate memorable lines like that.

Unfortunately I had trouble enjoying the entirety of the novel. There was a lack of characterization in the beginning that made it difficult for me to relate to any of the characters. There were so many different people thrown into a mix-up of scenes that there seemed to be a few narrative issues which could have been cleaned up.

Mainly, there were a few more head hopping issues than I prefer to deal with when enjoying a good novel. Especially at the beginning. Each scene needs to have a clear, well written main character. Edwards gave us some intriguing people who could have been that if he flushed them out a bit more.

Separating them out would have also offered a better flow. It was difficult to follow the variety of story lines because there was no real order to them. Each section starts off reading like short stories that tie together as perspective shifts and events take place. This can work, but some of the characters in Nightscape: Cynopolis took over for longer than others, and they switched around without much fluidity. That may have been a stylistic choice to instill a sense of chaos erupting everywhere in the book, but when a tale is filled with so much high powered destruction at random intervals, a good pattern makes for better balance and is easier on the reader.

I went into this expecting a Lovecraftian wonder and came out a little disappointed. There seemed to be a lack of horror and dark fantasy elements at first with way too many crammed into the end. After the first few chapters, I stopped wondering when things would pick up. I settled into the more modern literature style that seemed to be carrying the story. From that standpoint, I found myself baffled at dialogue issues as I waited for things to come together.

Having grown up and lived in diverse areas for most of my life, I enjoyed the portrayal of the rougher side of the streets, but came to question the authenticity of the characters when they were using slang/Ebonics terms. The language spoken gave the story a nice early 90s feels, but then someone referenced Kanye West and I had to stop and rethink the time frame. It completely pulled me out of the story. The dialogue has to sync up with the entirety of the situation, and it did not here.

With that issue and some drag in the storyline I began to wonder if maybe some scenes could be cut. Once I passed the halfway point, the tension did grow. And it built nicely at first, but then so many things were thrown in at once that the storyline seemed cluttered. I love a good climax, but this erupted with so many elements after dragging without giving me a reason to care, that I had to fight to focus. And it became downright annoying with mutants, feral dogs, aliens, a giant squid, and government issues.

There could be a great voice to this story if it were smoothed out a little more. Edwards makes some valid conclusions at the end. He uses the atrocity of confining people to destruction as a way to impress the importance of “greater sympathetic imagination” on the reader.

Honestly, I feel that this particular tale would make a better movie. The author is noted as a Director and Producer and I think that may be his specialty. I would love to watch everything that happened in this book to unfold on the big screen, but reading it just didn’t do it for me and I’m a person that prefers books to movies. Still, this story has heart and would grow better through a visual medium.     


Buy the book HERE

About David W. Edwards

David Edwards

David W. Edwards is the writer, director and producer of the feature film Nightscape and author of the novels Nightscape: The Dreams of Devils and Nightscape: Cynopolis. He attended the University of Southern California’s prestigious screenwriting program and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Literature while working for a variety of Hollywood production companies. He’s the founder and former CEO of a successful high-tech market research firm, and a former two-term state representative. He currently lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with his family. 

About the Reviewer

Jessica Marie Baumgartner


Jessica's word addiction has led her to become the author of Siren’s Snare, The Embracing Entropy Series, Tale of Two Bookends, and My Family Is Different. These books range from erotic paranormal romance, to science fiction, to children’s fiction. Her stories have been featured in numerous publications such as Everyday Fiction, The Lorelei Signal, Fiction on the Web, The Horror Zine and many others. Unable to limit herself with any one type of story she loves to genre hop, offers affordable editing for her fellow authors, and has written reviews for Quantum Muse.