When I bought Lincoln S. Farish’s Junior Inquisitor (Book 1 in the Inquisitor Series), I had no idea what I had just gotten my hands on. I admit I expected very little from it. I even thought I would not finish it. I never expected to really want to write a book review for it.
How happy I am to be so very wrong.
A gritty urban fantasy thick with occult, suspense, horror themes, Junior Inquisitor is an edge-of-your-seat novel that keeps a person up at night reading. It was not only the suspense and terror which had me reading it overnight; I could not put this book down once I started reading it.
Novels like Junior Inquisitor make writing a book review a pleasure instead of a chore.
Brother Sebastian hunts witches as part of a Catholic secret society. On his way to find the witch responsible for ruining his life, he is diverted from his personal vendetta to seek out another brother from the same witch-hunting order. Brother Sebastian travels to Providence, Rhode Island, to find the missing man and discovers there much more than he bargained for.
Junior Inquisitor has a great story which holds together from start to finish; Lincoln S. Farish weaves in the story’s threads beautifully, and the arc builds suspense right to the novel’s climax. The novel is written in first person narrative, so we are right there with the novel’s main character as he slides deeper and deeper into situations he cannot control. While Brother Sebastian is not an every-man, he is vulnerable and likable despite his often unlikable nature. I really appreciate that when things go from bad to worse for Brother Sebastian, he wants to be part of a team even as he is forced to be a lone wolf.
Farish’s paranormal creatures (like ogres and werewolves) are innovative; these are not the monsters of legend readers have come to expect in fantasy novels. The villain is as mad as a lorry, which makes him entertainingly evil instead of just plain power-hungry evil. His madness makes him a provocative character instead of one more “take over the world with my magic” stern-and-logical villain. Junior Inquisitor‘s characters are fleshed-out and interesting, the world is dark and real, and the conflicts are riveting and captivating. One could almost believe this is happening around us, obfuscated by both sinister and benevolent forces.
A man’s foray into the paranormal genre, Junior Inquisitor lacks women in strong, positive roles. The women in the novel are victims of malevolence, or they have been twisted by the lure of witchcraft into servitude-for-power. The lack of balance is understandable, since the heroes are Catholic inquisitors descended from the Malleus Maleficarum era (though the inquisitors’ roles have clearly evolved to fit into the modern world). While I did feel the absence of empowered female characters, the tale is gripping and compelling precisely as it is.
Farish’s novel raises the standard for independently-published books. Beautifully crafted by Farish and edited by Danielle Fine (who also prepared the novel’s cover), Junior Inquisitor delivers a thrilling and suspenseful stand-alone story while also enticing one to want to continue on to its sequel. Sadly, Book 2 of the Inquisitor Series has no release date, title, or teasers yet–as Junior Inquisitor was so recent published, on 01 March 2015.
Lincoln S. Farish is an author to read and watch, and he and Junior Inquisitor are discoveries worth making today.