In Wallace’s (Trojan, 2016) supernatural thriller, a South Carolina cop tracks a serial killer with ties to the occult and starts having visions of a demon.
The last few weeks in Georgetown County have been traumatic, as someone’s been abducting and killing 12-year-old boys there over the last few weeks, carving the Star of David into their bodies. Detective Art Somers worries about his son, Benjamin, who’s the same age as the victims, and his anxiety only increases when the murderer starts using Art’s town, Murrells Inlet, as a dumpsite for corpses. But right around the time that Art locks onto a viable suspect, the FBI takes over the case, so he and his fellow detective (and new fiancee) Angela Hunter move on to work a security detail for tech billionaire Cory D’Meadow. When they ensnare a would-be assassin targeting D’Meadow, however, Art finds evidence of cult activity in town, which may also be connected to the child murders. He also starts to experience intense visions involving a demonic creature; in one vision, it’s rising out of the earth and in another, it’s assaulting a woman. When Art sees a bright light and hears a voice telling him that he’s been “chosen for a special mission,” he’s certain that he’s either losing his mind or caught up in something truly otherworldly. Despite the supernatural touches at play here, Wallace’s novel is refreshingly subtle. The story aptly blends the horror and crime genres, as Art’s bizarre episodes are just as essential to the plot as the real-world evidence. Art’s personal dilemma is an engaging one: he’s been an atheist ever since the murder of his parents and sister long ago, and he struggles with believing that God has handpicked him. Nevertheless, Wallace handles it all with panache: his detective protagonist, determined to find a solution, compiles every clue, whether they’re from murder scenes, Bible passages, or his own visions. His investigation becomes even more personal when someone he loves is in peril.
A gripping detective story with biblical undertones.