Saturday, May 10, 2008


phantasmagoria \fan-taz-muh-GOR-ee-uh\, noun:
1. A shifting series or succession of things seen or imagined, as in a dream.
2. Any constantly changing scene.

Directors of Forties crime movies were big on drugging their lead actors and then sending them into some kind of swirling mental hell. We knew it was swirling because the special effects usually resembled vortexes.

Greg F. Gifune's Dominion creates a frightening and believable phantasmagoria because of the realistic portrait of Daniel Cicero, the protagonist. When Cicero's wife is killed by a hit-and-run driver he begins a long decline that ultimately finds him wandering the streets of Boston. Gifune charts all this in a voice and style thatforeshadows Cicero's greater fall into a netherworld he's led into by stranger caller tells him that his wife Lindsay is still alive. Dead but alive.

Part mystery, part thriller, Dominion takes us into a grim haunted world that combines science fiction with fantasy and horror. The entire book is a kind of noirish quest as Cicero struggles to learn what is real and what is false. He manages to do this with none of the expected cliches and in a voice distinctly his own. Gifune is well worth getting to know.

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