The Man Who Crossed Worlds (Miles Franco #1)

Rated 4.31/5 based on 13 reviews
All freelance Tunneler Miles Franco wants is a bit of freedom and a couple of bucks to rub together. So when the cops haul him downtown for smuggling people between worlds, he’ll take any chance he can get to stay out of the pen. And funnily enough, the cops have just the job for him.

Raw, insane, and hard-boiled as hell, The Man Who Crossed Worlds is a violent urban fantasy fever-dream. More
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About Chris Strange

Chris Strange is a writer of urban fantasy and other fantastika. He is especially fond of writing hardboiled stories with a noir influence. His goal is to deliver intense, humorous and sometimes dark stories to his readers.

In his spare time, Chris is an unapologetic geek, spending far too long wrapped up in speculative fiction books, watching old zombie movies and playing computer games. He lives in the far away land of New Zealand, and occasionally he goes to university like he’s supposed to.

He doesn’t plan on growing up any time soon.

Learn more about Chris Strange

Also in Series: Miles Franco Urban Fantasy

Also by This Author


Jana Webb reviewed on Aug. 28, 2013

I received this book for free in exchange for providing an honest review.
Miles Franco is a tunneller, he is able to transport people from Heaven to Earth through tunnels he is able to create. He is in business for himself and sometimes he walks a fine line between what is legal and what is not. After one of his not so legal trips he is arrested and forced into a deal with the cops that he is not exactly eager to accept. But it's better than jail time.
We have Miles our tunneller, a thirteen year old girl who wants to train for the same job, an old style cop and his beautiful partner, a mob boss with a beautiful wife and a new drug that could through the entire city into chaos. With Miles attracted to both women and his reluctance to do the job what could possibly go wrong?
I love this authors style of writing. He tells a story well and every now and then slips in a phrase that could have come from an old fashioned private detective novel. I'm not normally a fan of a book written in the first person but the author Chris Strange allows Miles to tell the story and tell the story well. This is definitely a author that I will now follow and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series,
(reviewed 40 days after purchase)
Marilyn Velez reviewed on July 14, 2012

I received this book in Member Giveaway in exchange for a review. I am glad that I did. I really enjoyed the story. The characters were interesting to read about and the plot was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the genre, a mixture of science fiction and film noir and hard-boiled detectives. The seting was interesting, and I would love to know more about how the tunneling and movement through dimensions works and the history of this world. It was a great read, and I look forward to reading more by this author.
(reviewed 78 days after purchase)
Leesa Logic reviewed on June 24, 2012

I received this book through LibraryThing's Member Giveaway in exchange for a review.

I enjoyed Strange's world building. It made for a unique urban fantasy. It was part noir, part dystopian.

Miles Franco is our protagonist with the ability to manipulate tunnels, which can be used to both travel to another world, Heaven, or distort our world's physics to work similar to how they work in Heaven.

Because of this gift, he's sought after by both the cops and the gangsters, but he works strictly freelance, until he's blackmailed by the cops to work for them to investigate a new violent and deadly drug hitting the streets.

Franco finds that all is not so simple, and with his wits, humor, and compassion has to get through some pretty terrible predicaments. And maybe save a few people along the way.
(reviewed 65 days after purchase)
Neil Rand reviewed on June 6, 2012

This is one of the better Science fiction novels that I have read in a while. Too many of the books in this genre focus on the world while forgetting to make a distinctive story. Chris Strange never fell into that trap. He created a good, unique world while also making clever characters in a very interesting story. I will defiantly be reading more of his books in the future!
(reviewed 42 days after purchase)
Willow Webster reviewed on May 21, 2012

I loved this book. It's well written & reminded me alot of Jim Butcher's Dresden books which I really enjoyed too. I will be looking for more books by him in the future. Keep up the great writing!
(reviewed 29 days after purchase)
Lori M reviewed on May 14, 2012

The following is my review of both THE MAN WHO CROSSED WORLDS and the very short prequel to to that novel called THE MAN WHO COULDN'T BE BOUGHT.

I have not read anything under the genre "urban fantasy" before so I have nothing to compare it to. Therefore, this is my first introduction to any "urban fantasy" novel.

I have learned, with this novel anyway, that there are no rules to the world(s) involved. This is a novel whereby the main character, Miles Franco, and others like him can punch holes into reality and can travel from one world to another and be able to understand the realities (fixed or not) in both worlds to survive.

The prequel to this novel (THE MAN WHO COULDN'T BE BOUGHT) introduces us to Miles Franco. Miles is an individual who has been gifted with, and schooled in, something called "tunneling." "Tunneling" allows an individual to travel from Earth to another world called Heaven. In this novel, Heaven is not what religious peoples envision as a place to go after death; it is just another world that has an entirely different reality than what is on Earth. Heaven, in this novel, is simply another world with another species of individuals called "Vei" who reside there. They are a little peculiar but, after all, they ARE aliens with their own culture. Heaven is not like Earth in many ways and it has its very own sense of existing. The laws of physics are completely different in this other world of "Heaven" and only experienced "tunnelers" who have traveled there frequently can understand its twisted and fluid realities and therefore learn their way around this other world and the culture that reside there.

Miles Franco is an experienced "tunneler" and has the necessary skills to harness the strange reality that exists in "Heaven." For this reason he is a wanted man. The cops on earth want to work with him to try to keep peace and harmony between the two coexisting worlds. Individuals in both worlds have a need for his special skills and he finds himself stretched very thin while trying, almost single-handedly, to keep peace between the two worlds. A little too much to expect out of one man but that does not stop Miles!

No matter how hard Miles tries to avoid getting involved in the smuggling of immigrants from Heaven to Earth and avoiding getting involved with the smuggling of drugs between the two worlds -- avoidance never happens for poor Miles. He finds himself in the thick of it more times than not.

Via the short prequel to this novel -- THE MAN WHO COULDN'T BE BOUGHT -- the reader gets a small taste of what Miles can do (for who and why) along with the type of person he is. The reader learns specifically HOW Miles "tunnels" back and forth and what he needs in his possession to do so -- including what it's like INSIDE a tunnel while traveling to or fro. The reader also get a peek into what the "other" world (Heaven) is. Even though there are so many different theories to describe Heaven, Miles explains that it is just pure and simple chaos. But far from a terrible kind of chaos. In fact, many times Miles could have been pleased to take up residence in one corner of that different world.

In the prequel (THE MAN WHO COULDN'T BE BOUGHT) Miles helps a lady from Heaven (of the Vei species) to return to her home city in Heaven after being on Earth for quite some time for personal reasons. What Miles is actually doing, however, is "smuggling" her back to Heaven.

SO SETS THE STAGE for the novel THE MAN WHO CROSSED WORLDS. Pardon some of the redundancy :

Told in first-person, we get a first-hand account of what happens via the main character -- Miles Franco. Miles is a young man who was educated and gifted with his forte of being a "tunneler." Miles is able to construct tunnels that can whisk him, and anyone who might be with him at any given time, from one world to the next. But this is no easy task and the risk for anything to go wrong is close to 100%. To Miles' advantage he is an expert in tunneling and traveling but not without high costs or losing his life at any given time. Especially when tunnels are beyond unpredictable and the other world (Heaven) has twisted realities.

What happens when two separate worlds (literally) in the universe with two separate cultures (human culture on Earth and a culture called "Vei" on Heaven) are aware of each other and often coincide with each other while the residents living in both worlds share some of the same evils? Pure hell, uncertainty and screaming chaos abounds.

The same evils in both worlds -- namely being gangsters, doctors and drug smugglers -- become inevitable. In this novel, creating and distributing powerful new drugs can change the course of history for both worlds. Or calls for a multi-world war. Author, Chris Strange, weaves a fantasy tale that is not too far from nonfiction for those with open minds.

Because the residents of Earth (humans) and the residents of Heaven (Vei) exist in both worlds and travel back and forth, depending on the circumstances, they have to learn to coexist with other which is far from easy to do. The one thing the two worlds have in common is that there is madness and undesirables in both cultures. But the biggie that exists is the quest for drugs along with the drug lords who will do almost anything to acquire those drugs and be in control of them.

In this novel, a new drug surfaces (created by a chemist) called "Chroma" which has the ability to wreak havoc with individuals. It is a potent drug that has the ability to turn those who inject it into their system into an entirely new species! What transpired with people high on Chroma in Heaven was downright scary enough and those who were on it would always be coming back for more. Miles was beyond nervous as to how his city (Bluegate) would have to deal with the deadly drug. The gangsters who had some of it began to kidnap innocents and "tested" Chroma on them. If it drove normal people mad, the violence would be horrifying. If tunnelers got their hands on it the universe would have gone mad. Therefore, MILES FRANCO TO THE RESCUE!!!

Miles just wants his own little world of peace and harmony with a few dollars to rub together to get by but, being a wanted man, he is always being sought out after and, being a man of great morals, ethics and principles, he wants no great payment for his skills and therefore really can't be "bought" to help others in both worlds of uncertainties. He just wants to keep the peace for humanity in his city on Earth (Bluegate) and save it from falling apart from the inside out because of so many corrupt peoples, greed and drugs that are causing it to fall apart. Sound familiar? As a result, Miles does what he does best -- "tunneling" back and forth between two worlds to try to make a peaceful connection between the two realities of the two worlds. In fact, tunneling REQUIRES that very thing (connection). Because Miles is a "freelance tunneler" he is definitely a wanted man by the best and the worst of both worlds. Miles is wanted by upstanding citizens in both worlds to prostitutes to drug lords.

Miles finds himself trying to figure out who the "bad guys" really are. Who is REALLY killing for the new drug "Chroma?" Could it be the Vei gangster (known as John Andrews) who resides on Earth with a whole lot of money and people behind him or the human detective (Detective Todd) who is supposed to be on Miles' side along with the other cops on Earth? Or someone else?

Miles finds himself working with an attractive female human cop (Vivian) but what part in all of this mess does SHE really play? Miles finds himself torn between the good, the bad and the ugly. Everyone wanted Miles to play their game, from the cops to the gangsters. The cops are always after the gangs and drugs but they never get ahead. The game still exists (as well as the drugs) and that's where Miles Franco shines.

Miles repeatedly finds himself trying to single-handedly do his part (to keep as much peace and harmony as possible) using his educated gift of "tunneling" which has him traveling from one world to another. He accomplishes this by both creating tunnels to travel back and forth from one world to another but, at the same time, also finding himself being sucked into interdimensional abyss' whereby he is not always in control.

Miles is also reckless and bold which even he realizes, after the fact, that these qualities end up in stupid moves putting himself and others into great jeopardy. This makes Miles all the more real to the reader. He is not completely supernatural (with his educated gift for tunneling) and has flaws of his own.

Between Heaven and Earth we shall abide. At least that is what protagonist Miles Franco shows us. In this novel Heaven and Earth are simply two different worlds. One world (Earth) is fixed in what we all realize "reality" is. On the flip side, another world (Heaven) is quite the opposite. This is where we have reality and fantasy mixed together. But what in the world happens (pardon the pun) when gangsters and drug cartel want what they always do (power and control) in both worlds?

*** What I really liked about this novel and what I could've done without :

Author, Chris Strange offers the reader to really know his protagonist -- Miles Franco. Miles is full of humor and self-deprecation which allows readers to easily relate to him. He is a do-gooder in both worlds with high standards and principles. But, boy, does he get himself into some messes! He is also a smartass which had me laughing many times while reading the novel. I was going to give this novel only 3 stars because these messes are really over-the-top but then I remembered that this is a fantasy novel and these very "out of this world" messes would be normal in the fantasy genre. Pardon the pun again (re:"out of this world"). :-)

I could really relate to Miles' feelings toward his own hometown on earth in this novel. Miles grew up and lives in a town called "Bluegate" on Earth and is familiar with it even though it fell into a very depressed, trashy state of affairs over the years. My hometown area on Earth did the same thing. My hometown is something I remember knowing and loving (like Miles) yet I can never go back to it expecting it to be the same when it's totally different. And certainly not for the better.

While every reader likes the storyline, I am no exception. But I am also a reader who takes good notice at the style of writing by any author. Chris Strange writes extremely well with fantastic analogies, metaphors, humor and great descriptions of the people and places throughout the novel. Therefore I was easily able to see, smell, taste and feel people, places and things in the novel as if I were right there. This was a huge plus for me!

*** What I didn't like about this novel was that no action really began until after about 50% into the novel. I know that the author had to describe the two worlds, had to describe "tunneling", had to go into detail to let the author know "what was what" but taking 50% of the novel to do that made it quite slow going.

Then, just the opposite occurs. The last 25% of the novel drove me crazy! The last 25% of the novel was consumed with a combination of Cujo, The Langoliers and a whole lot of crazy "new creatures" fighting and chewing and ripping and tearing apart those involved in the last 25% of the novel (including Miles who had to be on his 90th life going through all that). Because of this, the last quarter of the novel lost its credibility with me. I don't mind blood and gore but when it takes up a great deal of a story it seems endless. Especially when it is happening all at once for so long. This paragraph in the previous paragraph is why I rate this novel 4 stars. If there was a 3.5 choice of stars... I would choose that. :-)

Miles is always (too much) in a perpetual state of motion throughout the novel which also took away some of the credibility of the novel for me. On the flip side, however, one might say HOW COULD IT BE OTHERWISE when visiting a world (Heaven) that is always fluid and flexible and moving all the time as well as Miles being thrown in between both worlds -- among gangsters and drug lords and cops and 'new creatures.'

Lastly, the author made a brief introduction (VERY BRIEF) to a character early on in the novel who was nothing more than a passerby. Yet, toward the end of the novel, the author has Miles fighting to make sure this character was okay and going through hell and high water while risking his life TO ENSURE that character's safety. As if the character had been of great importance to Miles all along... which wasn't the case at all.

Author Chris Strange certainly has a gift for writing and his prose is excellent but, in my opinion, he needs to make things more cohesive in future novels as well as avoiding the pitfalls that I just described that made the storyline more boring than it could have been.

The author, Chris Strange, certainly has a great philosophy about writing that I think almost any author would agree with and to read what that is (if you are interested) go to his website found here: With that type of philosophy the sky is the limit for his future writings!
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
Susan Ashcraft reviewed on May 12, 2012

A few years before Miles Franco was born the Bores showed up. No one knows for sure what caused them or why they were there, but the governments soon found ways to use them.

They've found a way to make "tunnels" to another dimension. The place they call Heaven is anything but. Filled with a race of creatures similar to humans but with a much different perception of reality, it is the perfect place to smuggle things from, but there's so much more to it. No one really knows the full depth of the tunnels and what can come from them.

Miles Franco is a freelance tunneler. He has a certain code of ethics that, while it doesn't include working for gangsters, it also doesn't include working for the cops. So when the cops pick him up on a trumped up charge he knows something is up. Something big, or why would they be bothering with him.

Blackmailed into helping the cops, Miles must call on all his powers as a tunneler. When things sped out of control, and his city and friends get pulled into the mess that is now Miles' life, its time for him to make his stand.

A great urban fantasy mystery novel! With an interesting new theme, creepy new race and a so-not-a-hero hero, this is a fun, fast paced, twisty read. I look forward to reading more of Miles Franco and his world, starting with the short story The Man Who Couldn't be Bought.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Willow Webster reviewed on May 10, 2012
(no rating)
I loved it. The character Miles Franco gets into more situations than Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. I started reading it & could not stop until it was finished. I will be looking for more books by him to read. One of the best books i've read in quite awhile!
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)
Angie Lenkevich reviewed on April 29, 2012

Miles Franco is a Freelance Tunneler, who is down on his luck, when he's caught smuggling a Vei family to Earth. During his arrest, he's asked by the Bluegate Police Department to look into a new drug called Chroma in exchange for his current arrest charges being dropped. Miles decides to investigate without police backup which only leads to Miles getting into trouble. Miles heads home to find his landlord's daughter Tania waiting for him; she wants Miles to teach her how to Tunnel. She admits to taking Miles's kemia creating a small Pinhole which upsets Miles when he thinks about the risks she's taken. Miles relunctantly agrees to teach Tania Tunneling. Miles meets John Andrews a known gangster about his involvement with Chroma but Miles learns that Andrews knows nothing about it. Miles is beaten up when John Andrews wife Caterina helps Miles back to his apartment. In Miles's eyes, Caterina is beautiful and beautiful women are always trouble. Miles gets in touch with Spencer Davies about Chroma and getting some more kemia not realizing he's spooked Spencer. Detective Vivian Reed is following Miles Franco because she believes that Miles can't help the Bluegate Police. What is Chroma? How is Caterina fit into Andrews life? Can Miles find the Chroma conection? Can the police help? Will Miles really teach Tania? Who is Doctor Dees? Your answers await you in The Man Who Crossed Worlds.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
Charlotte E. English reviewed on Jan. 9, 2012

These days it seems like the title of Urban Fantasy can be given out to anything that so much as involves a city somewhere. This book is Urban with a capital U; you can practically smell the stench of Bluegate, a city that’s fallen a long, long way from grace. There’s nothing remotely pretty about this story.

Miles Franco is a Tunneler, which means he can do entertaining stuff with reality and pop off to another dimension anytime he feels like it. But that isn’t too rare a skill in Bluegate. What’s unusual about him is that, unlike almost everyone else in the city, he honestly means well. He could’ve taken a well-paid job with one of the many city gangs if he didn’t mind too much about incidental things like morality. But he does, so he doesn’t, and ends up living pretty rough in an apartment barely better than a shed.

Being the only decent bloke also gets him into trouble. When a dangerous new drug seems set to hit city circulation, Miles is dragged into the mess that’s rapidly developing. Really, with the number of beatings Miles seems to attract it’s amazing he’s survived this long. All the more so given what a naive, easily manipulated chump he is. But he manages to be likeable in spite of being constantly duped.

This is a well-written story, very noir with a clear and diverting narrative voice. Miles’s sense of humour is enjoyable, and one of the most likeable things about him is that his sense of the ridiculous never fails, even when he’s in deep trouble. He’s got a line ready for all circumstances. Perhaps it’s the only defence this shrimp can manage to muster, albeit a poor one. Shrimp he may be, by the way, but he certainly doesn’t lack courage.

This story is full of twists and turns and Miles would do well to avoid trusting anyone too much. Most of the twists are well done, and kept me guessing until almost the end. The final one let me down a little when it turned out to be exactly what I was hoping wouldn’t happen. That aside, this was a really strong book and an entertaining read. I’m hoping Miles will grow a bit of a brain in time for the next book, though; maybe next time he won’t be duped by almost everyone.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
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