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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Review: "Inquest" by Barbara J. Webb

In addition to "Inquest", Barbara J. Webb has written a novel, Midnight in St. Petersburg, in the same Invisible War universe.  In the novel, Rose is a sensitive who is invited to work in St. Petersberg, Russia.  She studied social work, so she doesn't know why they want her.  But they know she is a sensitive, able to read emotions of most of those around.  And they are the supernatural beings of St. Petersberg fighting the voiders and demons.

"Inquest" originally appeared in The Crimson Pact.

The story gives us Mike Sullivan before he's earned his collar.  He's sitting before an inquest board investigating the death of his mentor, Father David Alvarez, and the burning of a Missouri town.  David and Mike had pulled off the interstate to eat but found the town deserted.  Mike insisted that they look to see if something were wrong, but David said they would leave if they didn't find blood.  They did.

In the Catholic church, Father Chamber hung crucified in the sanctuary.  They go to the cemetery where a crowd has gathered around a bonfire.  They are about to sacrifice Valerie, a screaming young girl, in order to summon a demon.  So they save her.  Or so they thought.  Valerie was actually trying to stop the demon.  They have to give the demon a body and patch what they've messed up.

This is a good introduction to Webb's universe.  This story is perfect to see whether you'd enjoy more of this universe.  Interesting set up although it also drains some mystery and suspense since we know some of what is to happen due to the reflective narrative structure although there's a positive trade-off in that the scenario initially intrigues us.  If it had had more impact, it may have become a novel.  Most will enjoy the ride.  Hard to go wrong on a dollar.

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