A dark but exhilarating tale of black magic and religious fanatics.


From the Perfect Prophet series , Vol. 2

In this supernatural sequel, a faith healer and his son become targets of a dangerous, misguided man searching for redemption.

As part of a satanic cult’s prophecy, a man named Lucas attempted to kill death-metal guitarist Alec Lowell. But Alec survived and became a popular evangelical faith healer. Lucas escaped arrest and lived on the streets until finding surprising solace at a Christian commune somewhere in the Southwestern United States. Now he believes that to prove his “spiritual worth,” he’ll have to save someone. He tracks down and kidnaps Alec’s son, Jake. Lucas is convinced that the boy, as the son of a false prophet, deserves salvation. The Rev. Jonas Adonis, the commune’s leader, is initially upset by the abduction but eventually accepts that God has led Jake to him. It’s not exactly a tranquil place; many at the commune carry guns, apparently in preparation for an apocalypse. Even their leader is far from amicable, and when Alec comes looking for Jake, Adonis demands he validate his faith healing by performing a miracle. As a few commune members begin distrusting Adonis, they may opt to help the Lowells, and with all those weapons readily available, chaos seems inevitable. Johnson’s novel is relentlessly grim. Characters are generally despicable and won’t earn much reader sympathy, including an individual whom someone kills in a black-magic ritual. But there are standouts in the cast, from Alec’s long-suffering wife, Belinda, who tenaciously searches for her son, to bright 10-year-old Maggie, who separately befriends Lucas and Jake. As in the preceding volume, supernatural components are subtle, like Alec’s ability to heal others. The author sets a brisk momentum by quickly diving into the story, making reading the first book a virtual necessity. A frenzied final act and an unexpected turn deliver a bracing ending that seemingly hints at a third installment.

A dark but exhilarating tale of black magic and religious fanatics. (dedication)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-09-831446-0

Page Count: 374

Publisher: BookBaby

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A unique story of transcendent love.


An aimless young musician meets the girl of his dreams only to have his newfound happiness threatened by several inexplicable—and possibly supernatural—events.

The story opens as Leeds Gabriel meets with a detective while his girlfriend, Layla, is restrained in a room one flight above them. Through the interview, readers learn that Leeds was wasting both his time and his musical talent playing backup for a small-town wedding troupe called Garrett’s Band when he spied Layla dancing her heart out to their mediocre music at a wedding. When Leeds approaches Layla, their connection is both instant and intense. A blissful courtship follows, but then Leeds makes the mistake of posting a picture of himself with Layla on social media. A former girlfriend–turned-stalker wastes no time in finding and attacking Layla. Layla spends months recovering in a hospital, and it seems the girl Leeds fell for might be forever changed. Gone is her special spark, her quirkiness, and the connection that had entranced Leeds months before. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, he brings Layla back to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. When they get there, though, Leeds meets Willow, another guest, and finds himself drawn to her in spite of himself. As events unfold, it becomes clear that Willow will either be the key to saving Leeds’ relationship with Layla or the catalyst that finally extinguishes the last shreds of their epic romance. Told entirely from Leeds’ point of view, the author’s first foray into paranormal romance does not disappoint. Peppered with elements of mystery, psychological thriller, and contemporary romance, the novel explores questions about how quickly true love can develop, as well as the conflicts that can imperil even the strongest connections. Despite a limited cast of characters and very few setting changes, the narrative manages to remain both fast-paced and engaging. The conclusion leaves a few too many loose ends, but the chemistry between the characters and unexpected twists throughout make for a satisfying read.

A unique story of transcendent love.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0017-8

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.


An old-fashioned gumshoe yarn about Hollywood dreams and dead bodies.

Private investigator Aloysius Archer celebrates New Year’s Eve 1952 in LA with his gorgeous lady friend and aspiring actress Liberty Callahan. Screenwriter Eleanor Lamb shows up and offers to hire him because “someone might be trying to kill me.” “I’m fifty a day plus expenses,” he replies, but money’s no obstacle. Later, he sneaks into Lamb’s house and stumbles upon a body, then gets knocked out by an unseen assailant. Archer takes plenty of physical abuse in the story, but at least he doesn’t get a bullet between the eyes like the guy he trips over. A 30-year-old World War II combat veteran, Archer is a righteous and brave hero. Luck and grit keep him alive in both Vegas and the City of Angels, which is rife with gangsters and crooked cops. Not rich at all, his one luxury is the blood-red 1939 Delahaye he likes to drive with the top down. He’d bought it with his gambling winnings in Reno, and only a bullet hole in the windscreen post mars its perfection. Liberty loves Archer, but will she put up with the daily danger of losing him? Why doesn’t he get a safe job, maybe playing one of LA’s finest on the hit TV show Dragnet? Instead, he’s a tough and principled idealist who wants to make the world a better place. Either that or he’s simply a “pavement-pounding PI on a slow dance to maybe nowhere.” And if some goon doesn’t do him in sooner, his Lucky Strikes will probably do him in later. Baldacci paints a vivid picture of the not-so-distant era when everybody smoked, Joe McCarthy hunted commies, and Marilyn Monroe stirred men’s loins. The 1950s weren’t the fabled good old days, but they’re fodder for gritty crime stories of high ideals and lowlifes, of longing and disappointment, and all the trouble a PI can handle.

Well-done crime fiction. Baldacci nails the noir.

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5387-1977-0

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?