256 PAGES · £6.99
Afterimage has a plot so slim that it’s a wonder it doesn’t snap like an overstretched elastic band halfway through. Author Pierce Askegren is a bloody genius when it comes to writing waffle – endless conversations which go nowhere, events taking ten times longer to unfold than they should, incidental characters being introduced with reams of description – but his plot is so flimsy you’d have to be a major Buffy-head to take anything away from this but a sense of your time being wasted.
It’s a nice idea: an old drive-in movie theatre opens in Sunnydale and the guy in charge has an Evil Plan. Soon mysterious visitors pop up all over town, from a wolfman to a sexy Swedish nurse. Mystery, anyone?
Er, no. It’s obvious who the strangers are (think Purple Rose of Cairo), which makes the rest of the book an exercise in futility. Plus you have the added delight of scenes in which bugger-all happens going on for page after page. Take a dinner at Buffy’s house: “the asparagus spears were fresh and tender, bought at a farmer’s market and poached in chicken broth. They tasted good.” Do we care? No!
To his credit, Askegren has added some nice touches: Xander taking Jonathan to the drive-in because he can’t get a date (bless); Angel trying to explain what Punch and Judy is to Buffy; Giles being terrifically British. Sadly, there aren’t enough of these moments to make Afterimage live up to its name. Once read, it’s soon forgotten.