Happy Labor Day!
I want to review one of this series of the Merrily Watkins Deliverance Consultant series by Phil Rickman. Rickman has done some previous horror novels, but this series is pure Gothic with spooky old churches, Pagan rites, ley lines, and ghosts galore. Each novel has a villain or two, and every one of the novels is highly atmospheric.
Merrily is a late 30s something, chain smoking fireball of an Anglican deliverance minister. In other words, she does exorcisms and investigations in Great Britain usually on the Welsh border where all kinds of strange things happen. This is my favorite novel in the series so far, set in Herefordshire. I really like the character of Merrily's boyfriend and guitarist, Lol, and I found some great music due to this novel-- Nick Drake's "Time of No Reply" and his other hits, to be specific. The choice of Drake as a focus is obvious due to his haunting, short life.
Merrily's teenage daughter, Jane, can be a bit annoying at times, but I guess that portrayal is realistic. The two women both develop more in their romantic relationships in this book, and a mystery concerning gypsies and occult happenings is the focus.
Characterization: 5/5 [I feel like I know these characters after reading most of the series. They are likable and humanly fallible.]
Plot: 4/5 [The plot is full of suspense; Rickman is a capable writer and juggles multiple story lines well.]
Literary: 4/5 [Rickman's writing is like a fine wine-- to be savored. The writing is accessible for most anyone, I'd say, but there is plenty of historical and geographical detail in these novels.]
Atmosphere/spooky stuff: 5/5 [There is something for everyone here. I got chills several times in this novel with details about gypsy beliefs, ghosts, and other supernatural elements. Sometimes, these novels are just downright frightening.]
Romance: Yes! Merrily and Lol have an often angst filled relationship because it's not a good thing for the Rev. to be bonking men in the rectory. Jane and Eirion also have a relationship going in the novel.
**I highly recommend this whole series. I was hooked from the first book and have tried to get my hands on the new one in the series each year when it comes out. I need to get my hands on numbers 9 and 10. The covers of these novels are spookilicious as you can see. :)