Sunday, February 7, 2010
THE LAST DAYS OF MADAME REY/A.W. Hill
Note to FTC: I received this free copy from the author A.W. Hill. My review is most likely a little biased, as he's one of my professors at Columbia College Chicago.
The Last Days of Madame Rey is the second novel in the Stephen Raszer Investigations. Raszer is a private investigator and a scholar/expert on secret societies. His specialty is finding missing people who have been abducted or tricked into joining religious sects or secret societies.
This time Raszer must infiltrate the Military Order of Thule, a private army in a legal dispute with the tribes of Mt. Shasta for land rights. Abel Cohn has hired him to find his son, Fortis, a lawyer who has fallen under the spell of Bronk Vreeland, the army's misogynist and tail-boneless leader. With the help of his old Gyspy friend and fortune-teller Madame Rey as well as an old lover (now friend) April Blessing, Raszer is able to infiltrate the order via a professor who studies the seismic changes on Mt. Shasta.
The mystery deepens when Raszer learns why the Order wants the land: they believe they can free the Lemurians, a lost, antediluvian tribe trapped in the center of the earth. With them, they can establish a New World Order. How do they want to do this? By blowing up Mt. Shasta, of course.
Like Neil Gaiman, Hill expertly sets the supernatural world side by side with the "real" world. He blends a lot of genres: mystery, fantasy, the spy novel. It's fascinating reading, I can assure you. I've never read Dan Brown, but I've seen reviews on Amazon stating that A.W. Hill's work offers a much meatier version of the same subject matter as Brown's work, and I think that's probably true. The book is now in paperback.