And hell itself breathes out by AR Moler

Blurb: Evan Garrett is a psychic DC homicide cop, and his latest case is triggering all his instincts. When one murder becomes two, he can’t help but start connecting the dots, putting cases and clues together. He’s not the only one, though. John Bentley, director of Special Investigative Services, a tiny government agency attached to Homeland Security which deals with darker realities, and his team are soon on the case, and they bring Evan and his special skills on board.
Both bisexual, Evan and John find they are attracted to each other, even as they work together to solve this string of murders which keeps growing in scope. Their serial killer seems to be moving toward darker and darker deeds with every murder and ritual performed. Can John and Evan find solace in each other, even as murderous men and demonic forces threaten not only their own team, but the city as well?

My thoughts: OK, this is going to be lengthy, because I have several issues with the mystery part of the book. For me the book is divided into two parts, topic wise, even though they are entwined. One is the investigation, which takes up a big chunk of the book, the other is the romance between Evan and John.

I totally liked the book, but when reading mystery stories I usually expect a fair amount of investigating that comes to some sort of conclusion.

If you don’t like , don’t read on!

 

Absolute beginners vs. fledgling demon worshippers

If the investigating team was worth that name they would have found the killers way earlier than they did. Instead they were only reacting to yet another body. There is an obvious clue early on, however, our investigators don’t think of connecting things. The first victim was a professor at Holsinger college, the building where the interrupted killing took place was owned by a board member of Holsinger college and one of the victim’s last customers (whom he had an argument with) was a rich, spoilt kid who goes to Holsinger college. Even to me that looks rather suspicious, but that connection was not only dismissed but almost forgotten. They know that the killers have tons of money available, but when later a fake Goth kid with a Rolex (!) buys a knife for another killing – still nothing.

When the demon gets to run around the city they don’t seem to take any measures to prevent further harm. I don’t know what standard procedure would be with a demon on the loose, but I would assume (and hope) that some precautions are taken to find him or maybe warn authorities about a possible danger.

I would have expected a federal agency to investigate in a more professional manner and to be able to put two and two together much quicker than they did.

There are a few other little things that bothered me. How did John for example come up with the name of the demon the sigil is related to? 5 minutes earlier he hardly knew what a sigil was and all of a sudden he says that it is connected to the demon Telaroth. That didn’t make any sense to me.

On the other hand the college boys really have no clue what they are doing. They are dangerous, I’m not saying they aren’t, but they are bumbling about leaving clues all over the place. One of them borrows the key to the yard from his buddy. How come the buddy doesn’t come forward and say that he gave the key to Derek? After all a terrible crime had been committed there soon after.

Why a demon would impart his knowledge to such three dorks I don’t know. The demon seems to have a mind of his own, so I would assume he differentiates at least to a minor degree as to whom he entrusts with  the knowledge of power. I’m not familiar with demonology, but the story suggests that, as long as you recite from a book and have a couple of tools, you are able to conjure a demon at will. Is it really that easy?

Budding romance

I liked the romance part of the story. It developed slowly and their working relationship gave Evan and John a good chance to get to know each other before anything happened. The psi angle gave it a nice touch, so I enjoyed that.

The two guys were nice characters, even though I was tempted a few times to tell John to get a grip. If you are in his line of business you must be aware that you will suffer loss and there is no need to blame yourself for all and everything.

Oh, btw, before I forget, the mystery is only a mystery to the police and SIS. The reader knows from the first page who is responsible for the killings as s/he accompanies the culprits along their path throughout the book.

If you like mystery mixed up with romance and don’t expect Hercule Poirot’s little gray cells to be at work, then you will enjoy this.

Available at Torquere Books

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