Book Review: The Man in the Long Black Coat (Dale Bruyer Book 1) by J.L. Aarne

Dale has spent the past year drinking himself into a stupor and avoiding people, unable to move on from James's death, but, when he wakes one day to find that James appears to have crawled right out of his grave, Dale takes that as his cue to sober up. Between the neighbor who insists he look into some recent murders and the angel, werewolf, and god now staying in his house, Dale's self-imposed isolation and retirement from the supernatural business are about to end.

Title: The Man in the Long Black Coat
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 349
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has in no way influenced my review.*

This was a fun, entertaining urban fantasy mixed in with some mystery, some character growth, some romance, some friendship, and a whole lotta supernatural creatures.

The blurb is a little misleading though. Dale has spent the past year drinking himself into a stupor and avoiding people, unable to move on from James’s death. And then, kind of all at once, Dale gets dragged into some murder cases by his neighbor and James appears to have crawled right out of his grave—but the two are only mildly connected, and the James thing ends up being a background/side thing. Dale never suspects, nor has any reason to suspect, that James is the one committing the murders (which was what I was expecting from the blurb). The rest is accurate though; Dale sobers up and gets involved in the murder cases, his house ends up full of supernaturals, and interesting situations ensue.

As I mentioned above, this was a fun read. Most of the emotion was pertaining to things in the past (James’s death and how much it affected Dale), so for that reason the book was mostly light and a little quirky, but there were some violent/darkish things that happened since the characters were supernatural huntsmen. And though it wasn’t as emotional as I was expecting, I could still tell how much James and Dale loved each other.

Speaking of James though, I’m not sure how I feel about him. He was fine as a character, no complaints there, but, as a person, he seemed kind of distant sometimes, and Dale wasn’t kidding when he said James could be cold. In one flashback, *SPOILER ALERT* he left a child alone in a house with an unconscious mother and a dead father! I know he killed the father out of self-defense, but the father was only trying to protect his family and kill demons, and James clearly felt no remorse. *END SPOILER ALERT*

Another thing I liked was the author’s superb use of detail. He really painted a picture of that Louisiana town and all the people in it (and I don’t mean physical descriptions, more like a feeling), and other times the detail gave great insight into characters themselves, especially Dale.

Also worth noting, there was some pretty good character growth on Dale’s part, and it was sweet how much Dale’s friends (well, mostly Lloyd) cared about him.

The only thing I actually disliked was the POV. It was mostly third person from Dale’s perspective, which was good, but there were scenes from other perspectives, and sometimes there was a bit of head-hopping or maybe omniscience (I’m still not sure how to tell the difference). That’s a particular reading pet peeve of mine, but thankfully it wasn’t that frequent.

So overall, it wasn’t emotional the way I was expecting it to be, but it was a fun and entertaining read!


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  1. Ailyn

    What does TBA mean in the series? *PS i followed you from the link your left on Lexxie’s
    sounds interesting but I wonder if I want to read something supernatural at the moment,

    1. Kristen Burns

      TBA means To Be Announced since I don’t know yet how many books will be in the series 🙂 Yay, Lexxie’s blog is great, and I’m glad you decided to check mine out! Yeah, I’m a mood reader, so I completely understand not really feeling like a certain genre at the moment!

  2. Dinasoaur

    Hi Kristen,
    Well, I was clearly sitting there, reading your review, and shipping James and Dale the whole time. So, I am glade there was no queer baiting going on. I have never read this book, and it seems a bit too dark for me, but it is always nice to see some LGBT+ representation in literature. Very nice.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, they are definitely shipped in the book, you wouldn’t be disappointed! But looking at the review now, I can totally see why you might’ve been worried at first lol. And it’s definitely nice seeing LGBT representation in books! Thanks for visiting 🙂

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    This sounds like an interesting read, Kristen. I like it when an author can set the scene so well I can “feel” it. I’m not a fan of zombies though. Of course, it doesn’t sound as though this is a zombie book – more of a mystery? – so it might work for me. Especially since you describe it as being mostly light and quirky… I’ll think about it. 😉

    1. Kristen Burns

      Well he’s actually not a zombie, so you wouldn’t have to worry about that, haha. I just didn’t want to give too much info in case people considered it a spoiler. But yes, it’s more of an urban fantasy mystery. Let me know if you give it a try!

  4. Lola

    I like books with a lot of supernatural creatures, although sometimes it can feel a bit too much. It depends a bit on the book and how the world building is done. I like how you say the author sues detail well and how you got a good feeling for the town and the characters, I like that in a book.

    I don’t like the head hopping/ omniscience too much either. I’ve read a MG fantasy book this year that had a bit of that where it worked, but it’s not my favorite way of telling a story. I also have had some books where it seemed to happen by accident/ mistake. I rather stay in one perspective or switch between them.

    Glad to hear this was an entertaining read!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I get what you’re saying, sometimes there are so many supernaturals that it just gets over the top, but it worked in this one. And oh yeah, you do like world building, you’d probably appreciate that aspect! I really did get a feeling for the town.

      Yeah, it’s definitely an accident sometimes. I think it might’ve been purposeful in this book, but I just don’t like being confused when all the sudden from one line/paragraph to the next I’m in another character’s head and have to stop and try and figure out whose mind I’m seeing through and then figure out once I’m back in the MC’s mind. I like to really sink into the mind of the POV character, so head hopping and omniscience mess that up for me. But I almost never see it mentioned in reviews (not just for this book, I mean for any book), so I guess plenty of people are fine with it.


  5. AngelErin

    This sounds fantastic and like a fun one! That kinda sucks about the POV, but I’m glad you were able to enjoy it anyway. I love Urban Fantasy and supernatural hunting so I’ll have to add it to my TBR. Wonderful review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      If you like urban fantasy and supernatural hunting, then you probably will love it! Glad I could help you find a book to add to the TBR 🙂 Can’t wait to see what you think if you read it!