Book Review: Into A Dark Frontier by John Mangan


Pages: 301 pages

Publisher: Oceanview Publishing; Sew edition  Release date: September 5, 2017

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense/Crime




In the near future, Africa collapses into an enormous failed state, leaving the continent lawless and severely depopulated. For most, the breakdown brings horror, but for others—the outcast, the desperate, the criminal, and the insane—it allows unparalleled opportunity: a new frontier of danger and unlimited possibility.

In America, ex-Navy SEAL Slade Crawford, emotionally crippled after twenty years of front line combat, the dissolution of his marriage, and the accidental death of his son, is falsely accused of terrorism. Slade flees to Africa to build a new life and escape his past, but he is captured by an enigmatic American colonel, Gary Kraven, and blackmailed into tracking down a blood cult that is rampaging across the sub-Sahara. Struggling to stay alive and to free himself from Kraven’s grasp, Slade pursues the cult across the lawless African frontier. He soon learns that nothing is as it seems and that he is standing at the epicenter of a global struggle that will determine the course of history. Slade must decide whether to fight for his life or his honor—he can’t have both.


John Mangan’s debut novel, INTO A DARK FRONTIER is an intense mystery thriller that grips readers from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the last page.  The momentum of the storyline moves at lightning speed giving readers a feeling they are watching a feature film.  The storyline focuses on the turmoil throughout the world from the shores of the United States across thousands of miles to Africa.  The author give readers an inside look at the real life struggles immigrants face as they attempt leave there troubles behind to establish a new settlement in Africa.

 The storyline follows protagonist Slade Crawford, an ex-marine Seal on the run from prosecution of trump up charges of Homeland Security.  Slade’s backstory details his experiences and knowledge of life in Africa.  His experience and knowledge comes to the attention of a religious group who need a guide to train and prepare them for colonizing in Africa.   The momentum of Mangan’s storyline increases rapidly as the group travels towards their destination.  Unfolding events turn deadly when Slade discovers burnt out building in settlements and evidence of death and destruction.  The author places readers close Slade as he uncovers proof the attacks are well-organized and meant to discourage colonization of the area. 

 Slade’s past catches up with him in the middle of Africa with the arrival of an army colonel threatening Slade’s sister and her family if he refuses to work with the colonel.  Mangan introduces several support characters providing details of the characters role when they enter the storyline.  The author uses the support characters and sub plots to add twists and turns.  

 INTO THE DARK FRONTIER is a suspense thriller showing the world seems in turmoil focusing on events unfolding in Africa.  John Mangan introduces his protagonist Slade Crawford who is an ex-seal who was going to Africa to escape prosecution of trumped charges by Homeland Security.  When Slade misses his ship’s departure, he steals a small engine plane and chases it out to sea.  Readers meet Slade as he parachutes out of the plane and lands on the ship’s deck.  Mangan provides Slade’s backstory and military experience at the same time he provides his readers with the backstory of the three hundred men, women, and children on board the ship.  The author describes the persecutions the families are leaving behind hoping to find a new life in Africa.  Mangan gives more details of how Slade’s experience dealing with life in Africa has brought him together with the group of settlers.

The storyline’s momentum increases as quickly as readers can turn to the next page. Mangan describes the dangers the people face traveling in Africa.  Slade acting as the pilgrim’s guide and protector discovers there is a well-organized group of mercenaries attacking existing colonies and new settlers.  Regardless of discoveries of burnt out building and mutilated bodies, Slade is unable to convince the group of the dangers ahead.

Mangan introduces several support characters both good and evil adding twists and turns to unfolding events.  The author keeps readers guessing what will happen next while Slade begins to wonders who he should trust.   When an army colonel shows up bringing Slade’s past with him makes demands for his silence. Readers feel the settlers’ tension as Mangan describes the immigrants’ feelings.  The author keeps his reader on the edge of their seats as they try to understand Slade’s actions.   Mangan places them inside Slade’s head so they can feel and experience his turmoil when he realizes he has feelings for a few of the settlers.

The author creates several sub plots changing the storyline’s direction. Mangan gives readers an inside look at the severity of the mercenaries attacks including the heart-wrenching story of attack and capture of the settlers.  The storyline’s momentum increases as Slade’s plans to save his friends using the data he has found to leverage getting help from the colonel to save his friends and commits to stopping whoever is responsible for the slaughtering of innocents.  Mangan adds intensity to his compelling storyline describing Slade’s race against time to implement his plan, and he uses his ex-military experience to bring a dramatic solution to his problem.  There is a story behind the message in Mangan’s INTO A DARK FRONTIER earning a five-star ranking.

Reviewed by John W. Kurtze 

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