Are you one of the elect?
Dr. Helen Hope is a lecturer in eschatology – the study of death, judgement, and the destiny of
humankind. She is also a Calvinist nun, her life devoted to atoning for a secret crime.
When a body is found crucified on a Liverpool beach, she forms an unlikely alliance with suspect Mikko Kristensen, lead guitarist indeath metal band Total Depravity. Together, they go on the trail of a rogue geneticist who they believe holds the key – not just to the murder, but to something much darker.
Also on the trail is cynical Scouse detective Darren Swift. In his first murder case, he must confront
his own lack of faith as a series of horrific crimes drag the city of two cathedrals to the gates of hell.
Science meets religious belief in this gripping murder mystery.
What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen…
Liverpool is in the grip of an intense heatwave, and strange things are happening.
A woman dies in an apparent case of Spontaneous Human Combustion; a truck explodes on the dock road; the charred corpses of pets litter the city; forest fires ravage the pinewoods…and there are birds everywhere, silent flocks drawing in ominously.
Detective Inspector Darren Swift thinks there are connections, and his investigation delves into the worlds of football, nightclubs and organised crime. But is he imagining things?
Dr. Helen Hope doesn’t think so. And she believes the key lies in a mysterious seventeenth-century
occult book which has gone missing from Liverpool Library.
In the blistering sequel to Reprobation, DI Swift is forced to confront some inconvenient ghosts from his past, as a terrifying shadow lies over his city’s reality….
Can you hear it?
A professor of psychoacoustics is found dead in his office. It appears to be a heart attack, until a second acoustician dies a few days later in similar circumstances.
Meanwhile, there’s an outbreak of mysterious illnesses on a council estate, and outbursts of unexplained violence in a city centre nightclub. Not to mention strange noises coming from the tunnels underneath Liverpool. Can it really be a coincidence that death metal band Total Depravity are back in the city, waging their own form of sonic warfare?
Detective Inspector Darren Swift is convinced there are connections. Still grieving his fiancé’s death and sworn to revenge, he is thrown back into action on the trail of a murderer with a terrifying and undetectable weapon.
But this case cannot be solved using conventional detective work, and D.I. Swift will need to put the rulebook aside and seek the occult. expertise of Dr. Helen Hope and her unlikely sidekick, guitarist Mikko Kristensen.
Catherine Fearns is a writer from Liverpool. Her novels Reprobation (2018) and Consuming Fire (2019) are published by Crooked Cat and are both Amazon bestsellers. As a music journalist Catherine has written for Pure Grain Audio, Broken Amp and Noisey. Her short fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Toasted Cheese, Succubus, Here Comes Everyone, Offshoots and Metal Music Studies.
She lives in Geneva with her husband and four children, and when she’s not writing or parenting, she plays guitar
in a heavy metal band.
I found these books very interesting and I wanted at times to crack out my theology and literature notes from uni and debate the characters. This happens to be one of my slightly weird areas of special interest – having been brought up in the church and fascinated by the literature around and about religion.
I also really like crime fiction, so this intersection appealed to me. I’m not a metal fan but I did think the musicians from Mikko’s band were probably quite sweet and always nice to their mums, despite their appearances.
While Reprobation could be a standalone, Consuming Fire and Sound really do need to be read together as the plot stretches across both books. They’re not long reads so you can easily read all three in a weekend if you wanted to.
When dead bodies with religious connections start appearing in Liverpool (read the characters’ voices with appropriate accents – it’s definitely better) DI Darren Swift consults eschatology professor, and nun, Helen, and she begins a parallel investigation with heavy metal musician Mikko, keen to prove they’re not suspects.
They become involved in Swift’s next case too, where a mysterious demonology book and an ancient cult start trying to gain more power in modern Liverpool city centre. Mix this with gangsters, strange deaths, weird noises and ghosts and you have a paranormal crime thriller that keeps you gripped.
These books were really enjoyable and just a little bit bonkers, which is a good thing, and I hope there’s more where these came from.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.