3 Star Review: Whispers of the Dead by @clrhuth #review

Cover links to Amazon.com

Whispers of the Dead

Written by CL Roberts-Huth

Genre(s): Paranormal Thriller, Magick, Wiccan

Murder was never something Zoë Delante enjoyed, but solving the cases…. She does that rather well, and has the track record to prove it. Yet when she’s called in on a new case with the Baltimore PD as their go-to clairvoyant, she’s unprepared for the heinous nature of the crimes.

The hunt for the murderer unfolds, dropping Zoe right in the middle of a power struggle between a nightmare of a coven, and a serial killer leaving bodies in ceremonial circles in the rural parts of Baltimore’s city limits.

Will she discover the identity of the maniac behind the gruesome beheadings, or will she lose someone close to her first? A race against celestial bodies and the trail of earthbound body parts keeps our intrepid clairvoyant running right until the very end.

Rebecca Hillary's Review

This is a good book, but it wasn't what I was expecting from the blurb. I thought I was getting a book about a clairvoyant who works with the Baltimore PD to help them with unsolved cases. What I got was a book about a "lone wolf" psychic witch who pretty much takes over the cases, even taking case files home despite not actually being in the police force, in a world where almost everybody is Wiccan.

Zoë Delante has an annoying habit of info-dumping about Wicca and Paganism, whether through her dialogue with other characters (usually the "bigoted" Christians) or through inner dialogue. This is usually in the form of "look how badly these small-minded Christians view Wicca", which makes me think that Zoë needs to take a long, hard look in a mirror. It seems highly unlikely that Christians would be so closed minded with regards to Wicca in a world where were-hyena hunts are seen in the media and apparently accepted as normal. The most closed-minded character in the whole story is Zoë herself, which makes it hard to feel anything but apathy towards her.

Zoë also makes some easily refutable errors which I found to be something of a distraction. In a conversation with a Catholic in which she is berating him for his views on Wicca, she states that Exodus 22:18, "though shall not suffer a witch to live" originally said "poisoner". The original Hebrew manuscript used the word ''''' "m'khashepah" which actually does mean "sorceress/witch", and the Hebrew interpretation of poisoner at the time was more akin to a propagandist, someone who poisons with words. Zoë's is a typical Wiccan response to the biblical passage in question and it is simply not true.

Later in the story she fails to correct another character's assertion that a blue moon is the second full moon in a month, when a proponent of a religion with celebrations based around the lunar cycle should know that the true definition is the third of four full moons in a season. The "second full moon in a month" definition comes from a misinterpretation by Philip Hiscock in a March, 1946 article for "Sky & Telescope" magazine. In any case, there hasn't been a blue moon in September according to the modern definition since 1993, so unless the story is set in 2031, the author doesn't seem to have researched the subject properly.

Finally, I can understand the urge to use the spelling "magick" to indicate pagan/neopagan magic as opposed to stage magic, but in a book where almost everybody has some connection to Wicca it just looks clumsy, especially when it is used in a situation where the spelling "magic" would have been sufficient.

It's an OK read if you know what you're letting yourself in for, but the blurb really should have made it more obvious that this is a world in which such paranormal phenomena as were-beasts exist, instead of merely mentioning a sinister coven. Would it have been so hard to put the word "werewolf" in there somewhere? It's pretty easy to predict the ending very early on, and while there are a couple of red herrings, they rely on throwaway characters. I might pick up the next book, if only to see if Zoë gets over her prejudice against Christianity, although I'm not holding out much hope.

I received a free copy of this book from The Masquerade Crew in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer: Book provided by the author free of charge in exchange for an honest review.