“Mind of the Beast” by Brian and Juliet Freyermuth

The story starts thus…

“The flaming teddy bear sailed through the air like a cute and fluffy Molotov Cocktail.”

…and goes downhill from there. Rapidly, in a sleighride of emotion and suspense.

This is the next book in the “Sundancer” series, and the plot flows from “Demon Dancer” to this one with little break. Nick St. James continues to live his reclusive life in Seattle, but he is being drawn slowly back into the real world as he heals from the death of his wife, Ann. A big part of the healing is Thelma, the voodoo priestess/coffee shop owner (why not? A girl’s gotta have a job, and this is Seattle, after all) he is falling in love with.

The next thing we need is a villain. Actually, a mystery, which is caused by the villain. Once the hero solves enough of the mystery to discover who is causing all the trouble, he can get down to the battle with the bad guy. Which he does, in great detail.

If you want a universal mythical villain, you can’t go deeper into the human psyche than the fear of the forest, “the part of nature that rends and kills with no regard to honor or what you pathetic humans call good or evil.” And then we’re off on a roller-coaster of battles and fights and general mayhem, of both the mystical and the physical variety. At all of which the Freyermuth team excels.

I appreciated the finale. Often in super-metaphysical tales the writer gets overwhelmed by his own magic, and the reader is hard put to follow the hows and whys of what’s going on, The denouement of this story is action-packed, and the conflict, internal and external, is clear. The solutions are almost fathomable. Well, there has to be some mystery, after all. This is fantasy!

In general, this is a fun, exciting read, but I’d have to say it isn’t quite up there with Demon Dance. Perhaps the humour has become a little less fresh, both for me and for the writers. However, I still love the tone of the writing and the fascinating characters that populate Nick’s worlds, the human and the paranormal.

Recommended for Nick St. James lovers and paranormal fans. For the rest of you, read Demon Dance first. You’ll enjoy this one more.

Five stars out of five

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.