Saturday, June 17, 2006

James Byron Huggins' Sorcerer~Reviewed

by James Byron Huggins
Publisher: Whitaker House
ISBN: 0883688182

All Michael Thorn, retired LA detective and former Special Forces operative, wants to do is live a quiet, normal life. He and his wife Rebecca have bought Montabular Hill, an old Victorian mansion situated on an isolated hillside that overlooks the village of Cedar Ridge, not far from Salem, Massachusetts. He looks forward to raising his two children, eleven year old Anthony and his eight year old sister, Malorie.

But as his SUV tops the last ridge after the nine day drive from Los Angeles, his warrior instincts begin to awaken, triggered by a storm that seems to appear out of nowhere and center over his new home. His sense of unease increases as he enters the silent house. The last family that lived here, died here, their murders still unsolved. Thorn isn't a superstitious man, but now he feels a fear he'd never had in combat. One that drives him to explore the deeper than usual basement of the old mansion.

A puff of air exhaled by an old wall compels him to stop. As his fingers trace the brittle rock, he detects indentations left by bullets that mar the upper stones. After his family is asleep, Thorn tears down the wall.

He discovers a corpse so old most of the skin is gone. Bones are shattered by bullets fired long ago. Unusual pictographs scratched on the wall rattle this seasoned war veteran when he realizes only the corpse could have made them, which means the man chained to the wall in his basement had been buried alive.

Thorn leaves the body to call the sheriff. When he returns with the local law enforcement, the body is gone. The only clue is a line of skeletal footprints that lead out of the basement.

An ancient power is free again with a need to feed upon the living to regain its former strength. As death and chaos descend upon the quiet New England hamlet, Thorn, a Catholic priest, an old professor and a mysterious group known as the Assassini battle to destroy the evil that once fought Moses. Defeated once, the ancient sorcerer known as Jannes will do whatever is required to ensure his victory.

Slowed down a bit at times by explanations of Special Forces procedures/training, Sorcerer is still a fast-paced, supernatural thriller that leaves the reader in suspense until the very end. Highly recommended.

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