The days are growing shorter. The air has a crisp bite to it. It’s time to settle back with something good to read. It’s time to relax. Don’t worry about that scraping sound at the window. It’s just a branch that needs trimming. Probably.
If you’re looking for something seasonal to spend a few hours with, a book that will invoke a chill that isn’t due to the air temperature, then Blind Shadows is a perfect Halloween read.
It’s the story of two men and a young woman who have to protect the small town of Wellman, Georgia. Carl Price is the sheriff. Wade Griffin is a private investigator. Years ago, when they were both police officers, they were partners. Now they’re going to have to work together again.
Joining them is a young woman named Charon who claims to be a witch and an older gentleman with extensive knowledge of the occult. (His name is Carter Decamp.)
The story starts when a childhood friend of both Griffin and Price is found dead near an old cabin in the woods. The man was a reporter investigating the drug trade in the county, and he was ritually murdered.
Price knows he’s going to have his hands full. One of the most notorious families in the area owns the land where the body was found. The patriarch denies any knowledge of the crime.
Price requests Griffin’s assistance. Strange symbols were carved on the body. Griffin takes photos of them to Charon. She can’t identify, and eventually turns to Decamp for help. He has an idea what’s going on.
Soon Griffin and Price find themselves dealing with an intruder who can get past locked doors, a cousin who died years ago but seems to be alive and well, and a mother and daughter pair of femme fatales who can twist just about any man to their wills. Then they find out what they’re really dealing with.
Moore and Rutledge have a deep love of dark fantasy, especially as written by classic pulp writers, and it shows in the details. Carter Decamp is an obvious homage, as is the town of Wellman. I have to wonder if Carl Price is as well. (Carl Jacobi and E. Hoffman Price?) There are other little details like this, such as a reference to reference to Manly Wade Wellman’s John Thunstone (I think). I’m sure I missed a couple of them.
The characters have depth and come across as real people, although there were a couple of times I wondered just how much more punishment Carl Price could take and still keep on his feet.
There is plenty of action, and at times the story reads like a hard boiled detective novel. This is a good thing. The authors take elements of various genres, as well as genuine folklore and myth from the region where their story is set, and blend them into an enjoyable story that’s a great addition to your Halloween reading list.
Blind Shadows is the first of a series, and I highly recommend it. Congregations of the Dead is the second volume. I’ll be reading it soon.