Top positive review
Monsters Among Us
March 17, 2015
Joe Hark, the Night Marshall of Pitchfork County, has turned over a new leaf and it seems to be working. He has reunited with his wife, stopped spending his nights drinking, his children are happy to be living with both of their parents in their home and the county denizens, while not totally believing this new more benevolent- or at least less violent- Joe will last, are cautiously optimistic. There is even a new company that has come to the county providing much needed money and jobs to people who have been chronically unemployed. Everything in general seems to be looking up. Of course, this is Pitchfork County, and that means that the likelihood that things are going to go seriously awry is high. Unbeknownst to Joe, things are already going terribly wrong.
At home, Joe's daughter Elsa has been inhabited by the spirit of her grandmother. The image of most grandmas are quite often of a pleasantly plump, cookie baking, hug giving grandchild lover. Elsa's granny is none of these. In life she was a vicious deadly witch. In death she is much worse- and she hates Joe with a passion. She is just biding her time, hiding within Elsa, and waiting for the right moment to have her revenge on Joe for killing her and her daughter for loving him. Meanwhile Joe's son Al is worried that he is....evolving. He is already capable of turning into a wolf, but the dreams he is having show him a future in which he has become something much more terrible. They show him becoming a monster. Neither child confides in anyone else. And then something happens to the towns water. Once again it appears that all hell is going to break loose.
As Joe deals with a charm seller in town he has yet another run in with the new sheriff, Ms. Laralaine Absher. The sheriff is convinced that Joe is a violent lunatic who needs to be restrained. Needless to say, their relationship is contentious. While Joe deals with the sheriff his wife Stevie is called to the home of a young boy who is deathly ill. Stevie is also a powerful witch. Fortunately she is reasonably benevolent. The boy is infected. Stevie is able to extract the substance but has no idea what it is. The tainted water is about to hit Pitchfork County with a vengeance.
I enjoyed the first novel in the series but this one, in my opinion, is much better. The idea that Joe is working hard to change in an environment that is becoming more unstable and dangerous by the moment is an irony that Joe is well aware of. As he and his family work to stop a catastrophic event from happening, every one of their lives will be at risk. But this time around Joe is grateful they are by his side no matter whether they step onto the left-hand path or not. He has finally come to accept that not everything is black and white and this makes him a better man. Of course it doesn't stop him from being the main course on the monster menu, and when the story reaches its climax it is a gore-fest galore. And totally engrossing.
This is the second in the series but each book has a definite beginning, middle and end. There are, of course, hints that let the reader know that the story is going to continue but no real cliff hanger. I would recommend reading the first novel in the series first, though, because it answers questions about why the family, and especially Joe, is like they are. It is also a darned fine story.