Book Review: Crier’s Knife

Crier’s Knife is a stark, gritty tale of the love for family and the dangers we will brave to rescue a tribe-member in need. Do you love Sergio Leone westerns? Did you enjoy one-man-against-the-world tales like The Book of Eli or anything starring Liam Nieson in the early 00’s? If so, I recommend picking up Crier’s Knife by Neil Litherland. 

Savvy readers will notice that the author is the same as the publisher. This is the first purely self-published book reviewed in this space. I don’t know that this disclaimer is still needed in this day and age, but I suppose we shouldn’t take anything for granted: the book was just as polished and professional as anything I would expect to find in a traditional bookstore. 

The Basics: 

Title: Crier’s Knife
Author: Neil Litherland
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Publisher: Neil Litherland, 2018

Spoiler-free summary: 

Dirk Crier hails from a clan of recluses, whose veins flow with a touch of old magic. Every Crier has their gift. When Dirk’s smooth-talking cousin Teller fails to return from a tour of the region, the clan matriarch tasks the battle-tested Dirk to retrieve him. With no clues and a cold trail, Dirk sets out to re-trace his cousin’s steps with nothing but his wits and two daggers on his belt. The journey slowly reveals the true horror of his cousin’s fate and its intersection with a threat older than time.

Photo by Steve on

You’ll enjoy this book because…

Crier’s Knife is a slow burn. The tension ramps up slowly, steadily, unrelentingly. Each seedy tavern and wary local who encountered Teller tightens the twist on his fate. 

More importantly, Dirk’s tale is a swashbuckling, action-packed adventure. You’re never far from the next knife fight, battle of wits, or daring escape. 

Come for the action, stay for the characters. In another universe, this book could have had two problems: It risked being buried in backstory, or being mired in repetitiveness (Dirk goes to town, gets a clue, leaves, repeat…not so). Crier’s Knife successfully walks the knife’s edge (excuse the pun) in both respects by writing strong, flavorful characters. The locals who aid or harm Dirk are quirky, compelling, breathing entities. I wanted to know more about them almost as soon as I met them. Their lives and stories reveal the gripping backstory to Teller’s fate. Character is exposition and exposition is character in a seamless dance. 

Where can you learn more? 

You can find more by and about Mr. Litherland at his Amazon author page or on his blog

As always, thank you for reading, and, if it applies to you, happy writing. 


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