This supernatural thriller follows the hunt for both an ancient book and a serial killer obsessed with its secrets.
Software engineer Ryan Evans has just been laid off. Leaving work for the last time, he’s sure that with his wife gone and his mother deceased, he’ll sink back into depression. In his car, he smells an uplifting bouquet of scents that he’d always associated with his mother. This encourages him to visit Mimi, family friend and owner of a New-Age bookstore. She informs him of a job opportunity with Mrs. Mosavian and her daughter Angela. They pay Ryan to find a unique book stolen from them, the Ahrimanicon. This powerful volume contains instructions for harnessing the evil of an ancient Persian deity. When Ryan is skeptical, Angela reveals to him that she’s telepathic and that mystical realms are quite real. For further proof, she awakens Ryan’s own latent psychic talent. Meanwhile, a murderer named Yaniv has been stalking vendors of religious relics, burning both victims and crime scenes with uncanny precision. Hunting him are detectives Quan Pham and Elizabeth Daley, who desperately need an edge to halt his body count. There’s also Professor Levinsky, a religious historian, caught between Ryan and the detectives, telling each party only what suites him. Debut author Knight weaves a fast-paced and slyly plotted thriller. Short chapters sparkle with crisp prose: “The seared skin was cracked and blistered and the lips stretched away from the teeth creating an alarming parody of a grin.” But Knight’s dialogue is the true star here. Page after page of informative, agile (and sexy) exchanges flesh out the characters and propel readers into enthralling territory; this feels more like the assured fifth book in a series, not the first. Knight is also hilarious; while coroners photograph a scorched crime scene, one of them quips, “As you can see this place could use a woman’s touch.” The realistic portrayal of relationships, juggled with the supernatural, is equally welcome.
Otherworldly suspense doesn’t get much better than this.