This book starts out as a standard murder mystery, involving, as you might expect, the ritual slayings of members of a coven. The police team assigned to the task of solving the murders is a pretty standard bunch, complete with the usual fake antipathy leading to comedic banter between the chief detective and the pathologist.
It’s a good plotline, with lots of suspense and a great deal of sympathy for the detectives, because they seem to be up against an exceptionally clever murderer who never leaves any evidence, even to the sharp eyes of the modern Scene of Crime Squad. Relationships between the various members of the team are well outlined and interesting, and everything is rolling along as we expect…
…until about halfway through, when a book that started out as a standard slightly lighthearted murder mystery takes an abrupt turn into the paranormal. The comic relief fades. In fact, Doctor Campbell himself disappears from the story, only reporting in by telephone.
From this point on it’s full-scale Church-vs.-Devil, with the detectives taking the back seat to a bishop and an exorcist, who commandeer the battle between good and evil.
I really enjoyed the first half of the novel. The plot was intriguing and believable, the characters empathetic, and the conflict tense. The second half: not so much. Once the magic started flying, all the carefully built structure of the first half lost its importance, and the final scene, while exciting and well described, did not draw me in as much as it could have, because the main protagonists were two relative strangers and the characters I had grown attached to were merely collateral damage.
Two good books rather mashed together into one. Great for fans of both Detective Novels and the Paranormal.(4 / 5)