I got a complimentary copy of this one from the author in exchange for an honest review – thank you very much!
When asked to look into the death of a man in a town known for pagan connections, Haszard quickly makes progress, and it isn’t long before matters become dangerous. With little to work with, Haszard makes progress, yet the task is a daunting one, and not everyone he encounters is friendly.
Collating interesting and significant information from various sources along the way, Haszard has to link factors linked with the past, and as he does so, he realizes that in order to save someone from certain death, he is in a race against time.
As I was sent an ARC version by the author so I am going to limit myself to general impressions and remarks – after all usually an ARC is going to be edited further.
The main character of this novel called Haszard is an anesthetic and recovery practitioner who works at a local hospital. He is asked by a friend of his girlfriend (or fiancée), Sabrina, to investigate a suspicious death of a young man, Dean Cook, who, allegedly, has jumped from a flyover in a little sleepy town called Lamesford. Still one shifty jeweler claims he saw the man being pushed. What’s more, Dean also hoped to become rich soon because of a certain pewter artifact. So far so good. Haszard investigated…completely forgetting about his part-time day job. His beloved Sabrina, ostensibly a nurse, often accompanied him in his quest never mentioning her hospital job either. I always become a bit suspicious when characters do that – unless you prepare a very good excuse, like making them super-rich and independent or sending them on holiday, such a premise is rather far away from an ordinary life of working classes.
And it’s a pity because I liked Haszard, a facetious ‘mobile doomsday machine’ as he was called by one of the police officers. His sense of humour often appealed to me (lager = Satan’s urine, hell yes!) even though he could be indeed pretty sexist and foul-mouthed.
Still… the first thing that came to my mind after finishing this novel was a mess. Too many characters, some of them funny, some of them weird, some just plain unnecessary, spoke about too many things, often acting as if they weren’t really concerned by the action happening around them. Most of them lacked distinctive features. As a result the main story arc, a mystery behind a series of murders connected to a certain neo-pagan artifact, became a bit bland. Even though I found plenty of good ideas in this one: a mysterious artifact, witches, druids, pagan festivals even a sweet baby boy called Horace, after a while it all was muddled up and near the end, when I was supposed to be devouring that book as if there was no tomorrow, I simply lost interest. What’s more, I couldn’t connect to any of characters and even stopped to care about the identity of the perpetrator(s) of those murders.
Despite a few enjoyable moments this story was unable to engage me. It started with a mess, it ended with a mess, becoming duller and duller with every page. Lower strata of meh.