The Coven Murders
The Coven Murders is a dark, detective thriller that opens with a shocking and graphic murder. I’m not one who typically enjoys books that lean on shock value, but I’m not too proud to admit I honestly enjoyed the opening sequence of this novel. I think my favorite part was the fact that the setting of the prologue was in the 90’s while the rest of the book took place in modern time (2016). For some reason, horror books (and films) always seem to work best when they’re set in an era before year 2000—so I was a little disappointed to see the jump in time, but it did not take away from the integrity of the story.
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of mysteries, detective novels, or whodunnit books, but I can’t say I regret taking a chance on this one. I found the mystery to be intriguing, fully developed, and entertaining from beginning to end. The writing was strong and full of well-worded and well-placed details that helped build the dark setting of the novel. There were times I felt there was a bit too much detail—I simply didn’t care about everyone’s clothes and every time someone loosened a tie, but hey, that’s just me—but the writing was done well enough that I never became annoyed with it.
I could definitely see this book leading into a series of mysteries and murder novels. I kind of hope there will be books that are simply horror without the mystery but then there wouldn’t be that added layer of anticipation and wonder to it. Plus, I actually enjoyed the Inspector and his team; at times it felt like I was watching a much better and much darker version of Criminal Minds.
If I had to pick a complaint, I’d say I wish the foundation of this novel was not rooted in a crazy church killing. Religion is such an easy element to twist into a horror novel, it almost feels like a copout. That doesn’t mean it didn’t work in this story, but I wish the root of evil here had not been some nut trying to make sacrifices to the devil.
Other than my one complaint, I’d say this is a solid, well-written and well-developed story with strong characters and a great pace. While it is not exactly scary, it is entertaining and dark. If you like detective stories and murder mysteries, I would certainly recommend this book to you, fans of horror might enjoy it too.