3 out of 4 stars
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Businessman George Wertman has hired Haatim Arison, a religious niche blogger, to take pictures of a woman he is convinced is going to murder him. Abigail Dressler, the subject of Haatim’s photographs, is indeed planning George’s assassination at the behest of the Council of Chaldea, an organization dedicated to the protection of innocents from the supernatural. It’s all just fun and games to Haatim until George’s body drops from the third story window of an abandoned building and what appears to be a grinning yellow-toothed zombie missing an eye grabs hold of his pant leg. Now in over his head, Haatim accompanies Abigail on a what should have been a routine paranormal investigation of the isolated mountain town of Raven’s Peak.
I have to admit that the prologue and several later scenes in Raven’s Peak by Lincoln Cole left me feeling a bit woozy. Horror, paranormal or otherwise, is not my typical genre of choice and had it been a movie, I would have changed the channel immediately. Fortunately, being a book, I was able to take a cleansing break before resuming. I am glad that I did. I enjoyed the book more than I thought I would.
The two heroes, Haatim and Abigail had likable, unique characters. Haatim, although a bit of a screaming ninny and more than a bit geeky, managed to pull himself together and comport himself responsibly on several occasions throughout his totally unexpected adventure. Abigail, tough and sarcastic hunter though she was, had some emotional depth and strong convictions which provided reality grounding for her character.
I had a few issues with some odd descriptions in the book. I’ve never known a camera to feel, thus found it hard to imagine a camera that banged painfully against the ground. Then I had some questions about the description of the exhaustion resulting from a paranormal experience. It was repeatedly compared to running a marathon while writing a term paper or taking an exam. Is it both a physical and mental exertion that Haatim and Abigail experience? Is it unique to the two of them or would anyone that had a supernatural run-in feel the same? Lastly, I had some uncertainty concerning the manifestation of the demon Belphegor. Haatim explained that this demon’s appearance spreads paranoia and distrust subsequently causing insanity which resulted in the horrible situation we see in the interlude section of the book. Later, the heroes come across a man who had been affected by the demon’s influence. He is writing the demon’s name in blood from his own eye-socket. Yet Belphegor requires human excrement as part of associated rituals, not blood.
As this isn’t a book I have any interest in rereading nor do I plan on reading the next book in the series, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. Those with rather weak stomachs, like myself, should steer clear of Raven’s Peak by Lincoln Cole. Those who enjoy the horrific emotions inspired by bloodbaths and demonic encounters would find this book more to their liking.
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