Monday, November 26, 2012

Mysterious Book

Book of ShadowsBook of Shadows 

by Alexandra Sokoloff


"In the  anemic wash of the streetlamps, the deserted park was ghostly and colorless, a stage set of dead trees and shrubs with the dry fountain and angel in the center.  The park had that in common with the landfill; there was a brutality about the ruination, a killer deliberately seeking ugliness." (p 174)

This entertaining mystery successfully maintains suspense throughout the story.  At the start the discovery in a landfill of the mutilated corpse of Erin Carmody, the 18-year-old daughter of a prominent Boston businessman, presents homicide detective Adam Garrett with a particularly sensitive case. Marks on the body suggest the killer was conducting Satanic rituals. When Adam and his partner, Carl Landauer, question the prime suspect, Jason Moncrief, a college friend of Erin's, Jason chants the name of the demon Choronzon, then assaults Carl. Despite what appears to be an open-and-shut case, Adam can't discount the claim that Jason is innocent made by Tanith Cabarrus, an attractive witch who comes to police headquarters to report, that she dreamed of other murders--and who believes that supernatural forces are behind the slaughter.
The main character, Detective Adam Garrett, is the type of hero who follows his own instincts even when his boss and others do not approve.  Mystery is darkened throughout by a layer of witchcraft and the setting in Massachusetts near Salem augments that layer.  The major supporting characters are presented with believable detail while the trappings of the supernatural do not detract from the more traditional aspects of detective work.  Overall, Sokoloff's fast-paced and suspenseful style makes this an enjoyable entertainment.


Parrish Lantern said...

Sounds like an interesting detour from your normal reading.

James said...

It is comparable to what Graham Greene would label an "entertainment". Light, but well-done detective mystery.