4 out of 4 stars
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When Maureen was eight, her little brother was kidnapped. She informed her mother where he was buried one night after a nightmare. When her mother refused to listen, Maureen called 911 and gave them the information. After his body was discovered, Maureen was hospitalized and then sent by her mother to a substandard Catholic boarding school to get the demon (that she believed was in Maureen) exorcised. After eight years of abuse, Maureen finally managed to escape and has been running ever since. Occasionally, she has been guilty of breaking the law to survive. After staying too long in a place, the nightmares catch up with her, and she has to take off again.
While fleeing her latest troubled dreams, Maureen’s car broke down in Sycamore Hills. As she was waiting for parts to arrive to fix it, she witnessed a small boy being murdered in another nightmare. During her morning run, Maureen recognized the neighborhood from her dream and witnessed several police cars. While continuing her run, she met Father Patrick, who noticed that something was wrong. Something about him compelled Maureen to talk with him and not close herself off as she ordinarily did.
That night, to see if the house was really the one in her dream, Maureen decided to break into it, knowing no one was home. She was apprehended by Manny Benitez, the detective on the case. Even though the FBI has officially taken over, Maureen and Manny soon realize they must work together to discover the murderer before they strike again.
Unholy Shepherd by Robert W. Christian is a 365-page paranormal novel listed in the C/T/M/H genre. It is the first book in The Demon Sight Series. However, it can be read as a standalone because the relevant questions are answered satisfactorily. During the epilogue, we are provided with a clue as to where the following book is headed. The action begins immediately in the story with Maureen’s younger brother’s body being found. Then, it jumps into the present-day murder of the small boy that Maureen is witnessing in her sleep. Narrated from the third-person point of view, the author’s suspenseful prose is descriptive, gripping, and easy to follow. I thought the murderer was fairly easy to identify; nonetheless, the thrilling plot and climax compelled me to eagerly continue reading until the last page.
I loved the major characters in the story—Maureen, Manny, and Father Patrick. Due to superstitions and in the name of religion, Maureen was abused as a child. Add the nightmares to her problems, and you have a person scarred mentally and physically. In spite of all this, she is a strong person but refuses to trust anyone. Manny has a Hispanic background and doesn’t have enough faith in himself. Therefore, he doesn’t live up to his potential. He also has a temper. Father Patrick witnessed things during his time in the military that he has had trouble overcoming. Each character has their own demons, weaknesses, and strengths. This causes them to be more compelling, interesting, and believable. Not only do Manny and Maureen need to work together, but they find themselves drawn towards each other romantically, which adds another layer to the story.
I only found four minor errors in the entire book, and they didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the novel. Because nothing was disliked in this mesmerizing story, Unholy Shepherd achieves a rating of four out of four stars. It is enthusiastically recommended for readers who enjoy crime dramas, thrillers, mysteries, and paranormal novels with a little romance mixed in. I eagerly look forward to the upcoming book in the series. Sensitive readers should be aware of some profanities, a rather explicit sex scene, and violence in the story.
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