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Friday, 11 November 2016

‘The Final Seven’ by Erica Spindler

Published by Sphere,
13 October 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-7515-6293-4 (PB)

The FBI isn’t an organization in which you’d expect to find evidence of a belief in the philosophy of ‘more things in heaven and earth’, but Erica Spindler’s vision of it in the first of her new series tells a different story.

Zach Harris is the first of a specially trained group of agents whose sixth sense has been honed and directed towards crimefighting. Seconded to the New Orleans Police Department and partnered with kick-ass arch-sceptic Detective Micki Dare, he is thrown in at the deep end when young women start to go missing on their twenty-first birthdays, leaving behind a trail of destruction and strange symbols.

While Micki follows the evidence trail, Zach’s is busy pursuing something less concrete: a powerful energy trace left behind by the abductor – who soon turns out to be an evil more powerful and less  tangible than mere flesh and blood.

Spindler weaves the supernatural into everyday policing with effortless ease, mainly because her main characters are so engaging. Micki’s tough exterior masks a vulnerable centre, and Zach’s façade of charm and ego, amply supplemented by his special abilities, doesn’t quite conceal a need to be accepted and liked.    

Other players such as the enigmatic Parker and fragile Angel are equally well drawn, and there’s even an engaging toddler who brings out Micki’s well-buried maternal side.

New Orleans itself, still dealing with the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, is one of the stars. Spindler clearly knows the city well, and brings her backdrop to vivid life. It all adds up to a pacy, gripping thriller, solid police work with an additional element which might stretch credulity at first, especially for the more pragmatic and down-to-earth reader; but by the climactic final scenes even hard-nosed Micki is convinced, and the woo-woo factor becomes so much part of the fabric of the narrative that it will carry you along as it did me.

It’s a new and interesting twist on the perennial battle between good and evil: crimefighting with added special powers, and a far darker enemy than mere human villains. I look forward to Micki and Zach’s next case.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Erica Spindler  was raised in Rockford, Illinois, Erica had planned on being an artist, earning a BFA from Delta State University and an MFA from the University of New Orleans in the visual arts. In June of 1982, in bed with a cold, she picked up a romance novel for relief from daytime television. She was immediately hooked, and soon decided to try to write one herself. She leaped from romance to suspense in 1996 with her novel Forbidden Fruit, and found her true calling. Her novel Bone Cold won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence. A Romance Writers of America Honour Roll member, she received a Kiss of Death Award for her novels Forbidden Fruit and Dead Run and was a three-time RITA® Award finalist.  Publishers Weekly awarded the audio version of her novel Shocking Pink a Listen Up Award, naming it one of the best audio mystery books of 1998.  Erica lives just outside New Orleans, Louisiana, with her husband and two sons.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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