Tor Books, h/b £14.39, p/b £5
Reviewed by David A. Riley
This is the first in a series of novels about a new occult hero, Jeremiah Hunt. Though set in the modern world, it is a world where ghosts, witches, demons and shapeshifters proliferate, unseen by the bulk of humanity. It could be our world, of course, because until Hunt takes part in a ceremony to enable him to “see that which is unseen” he is as unaware as the rest of us of its existence. This ceremony, part of his desperate bid to find his abducted daughter, has far reaching results. While it enables him to see the spirit world, in particular ghosts, at the same time his normal ability to see is destroyed. Burned out by visions of the full scope of reality, his eyes are blind in normal light and can only see in pitch darkness or via the eyes of ghosts.
Still searching for his daughter, Hunt is occasionally consulted by a local Boston police detective for his “psychic” abilities. The cases he becomes involved with eventually centre on a series of bizarre brutal murders which, piece by piece, he comes to realise have a bearing on the unknown fate of his daughter. In his search he finds help from two unlikely sources: a young, talented witch who is a worshipper of Gaia; and a huge Russian bar-owner with frightening abilities of his own. What they are up against, though, makes even their combined abilities seem puny by comparison. It’s an ancient evil, stretching back into America’s distant colonial past, which is manipulating Hunt without him realising how he is being used and bringing him closer to an horrific fate.
Fast paced, with plenty of twists and turns in its storyline, this is an accomplished novel of supernatural evil, with tenuous links to the author’s other series of occult novels involving modern Knights Templars. Jeremiah Hunt is a credible hero, deeply flawed but determined. It is a dark urban fantasy of the darkest, most horrific kind.