on May 24, 2016
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Also in this series: Phantom Evil, The Hidden, Heart of Evil, Deadly Fate, Darkest Journey, Dying Breath, Echoes of Evil, The Summoning, The Seekers, The Unholy, The Dead Heat of Summer, The Unforgiven, The Forbidden
Between the evil and the deep blue sea…
A historic cruise ship, a haunted ship, the Celtic American Line's Destiny, sets sail from the Port of New Orleans—with a killer on board. He's known as the Archangel Killer because of the way he displays his victims in churches. And how he places a different saint's medallion on each body. No one knows exactly who he is or why he's doing this.
Jackson Crow—head of the FBI's Krewe of Hunters, a special unit of paranormal investigators—is assigned to the case, along with local agent Jude McCoy. Then Alexi Cromwell, who works in the ship's piano bar, is drawn into the situation when a victim's ghost appears to her—and to Jude. She and Jude share an attraction, and not just because of their mutual talent.
There are many suspects, but one by one they're ruled out… Or are they? In the end, Jude and Alexi have to rely on each other to catch the killer and escape his evil plans for Alexi.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Haunted Destiny is the newest in Heather Graham’s Krewe of Hunters series, and I really enjoyed it. “Destiny” refers to the cruise ship on which most of the action takes place, as well as its more conventional meaning of fate. The setting reminded me a little of Agatha Christie’s mysteries set in closed communities (ships, trains, planes, country houses), although of course Graham’s style is very different from Christie’s. Alexi and Jude make a good couple, and the secondary characters were interesting as well.
The ghosts in this one are unusually talkative for a Krewe book (though I admit I haven’t read that many yet.) That might bother some people who feel that ghosts should be more… ghostly, but I rather liked it. Especially the chanteuse and her boyfriend, who are around enough to be secondary characters in their own right. As in some of the other Krewe books I’ve read, the ghosts are integral to solving the mystery.
Speaking of mystery, Haunted Destiny kept me reading late into the night. Graham does a good job of introducing a number of suspects and eliminating them one by one, while slowly ratcheting up the suspense. Even as the book nears the denouement, I was still debating between two or three suspects. I wasn’t exactly surprised by the final reveal, but it wasn’t my top suspect. I sometimes find serial killer mysteries very disturbing, but this novel didn’t bother me, perhaps because while Graham does describe the deaths, she doesn’t dwell gratuitously on the violence and gore. And although her investigators certainly pay attention to the killer’s psychology in an attempt to figure out his motives and probable next moves, as a reader I didn’t have to spend a lot of time in the murderer’s head, which helped as well.
Where the plot falters slightly is in how quickly Jude zeros in on Alexi and her friend as the most likely target(s). He does this even before they have any evidence of the “type” the murderer is likely to go for next. And even when they have that evidence, there are plenty of other possible targets on the ship, yet his major focus is still on Alexi and her friend. It’s a relatively minor point, but typical of the sort of logical leap that I’ve seen in many of Graham’s books. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll buy an intuitive leap on the part of a character, particularly if they’re the sort to make intuitive connections. And that could have been the case this time. But sometimes it comes across more as a skipped step in the author’s chain of logic, and I got that feeling in this book. It didn’t keep me from enjoying the story, though!
I’m slowly working my way through the backlist of the Krewe of Hunters series, but I’m already looking forward to the next one. Deadly Fate is due out July 26.