DESCENDANT – By Bob Freeman
Review by Gary Val Tenuta
Author of Ash: Return Of The Beast
A captivating occult detective thriller by a master of the genre
Rated: 5 out of 5 stars
The first half of Descendant sucked me in from the get-go even though, after the first few chapters, I was not quite sure where the story was going. Still, I was captivated. This was due in large part to two things: (1) Freeman’s writing style and (2) the characters: The enigmatic Dr. Landon Connors and the FBI agents, Martin Crowe and Selina Wolfe. I recognized, immediately, that my imagination and my thirst for an adventure was now in the hands of a writer fully confident in his craft and completely in control of where ever he was about to take me. And, damn, can this guy turn a phrase. Bob Freeman is a hell of a wordsmith. One note of warning to readers, however: if you’re not at least moderately versed in esoteric lore and occult literature or even just words that were more or less common language back in the middle ages, you may find yourself puzzling over certain words and phrases peppered throughout the story. This is quite clearly Freeman’s realm, his comfort zone. He knows this stuff up one side and down the other and he doesn’t think twice about dropping terms like “eldrich power”, “widdershins”, “preternatural”, “magickal working’, “homunculus”, and so on, into the dialog or the descriptive passages. Not that it really matters. Trust me. Freeman’s writing is so good you’ll “get it” even if you don’t exactly know the meaning of a word here and there.
The primary characters, agents Wolfe and Crowe, are colorful, smart, emotionally driven, wise-cracking, resourceful, tough and just plain fun to watch. Er, I mean to read. Well, that’s just the thing. I always had the impression that I was actually seeing them, like watching a movie. Man, I love these two characters! They each have very distinct personalities that play off each other extremely well. If this was a movie, I’d have to say the casting was perfect. Wolfe and Crowe have a terrific chemistry going on.
And monsters? Your want monsters? Demons? Creepy, dangerous, hideous, shape-shifting creatures from Hell that will delight in ripping your beating heart out of your chest and then devour it like sucking down a slimy delicacy and then go looking for seconds? Then watch out. You’ve come to the right place. They’re everywhere, in the woods, in the shadows of back alleys. Hell, they could be your neighbors. Like I said, they’re everywhere. And that’s the problem. That’s what Wolfe and Crowe are all about. They’re demon hunters and they carry big guns, not to mention an assortment of magickal weaponry, bewitching spells and some pretty nifty psychic wizardry that comes in handy when the final showdown explodes across the pages of this exciting, masterfully written and highly intelligent thriller.