ASIN #: B00JKT2YUQ
File Size: 919 KB
Page Count: 298
Copyright: April 1, 2014
(Taken from Goodreads)
The most puzzling aspect of Rosalinda Evelyn's suicide was that she shot herself in the head with a Magnum 8mm automatic just five hours after having won the Critics' Choice award for best actress.
In his most bizarre case, Anglo Indian Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Mick Chandra and his partner, Hong Kong-born Elizabeth Chang, face the challenge of exposing a sex and suicide cult, the Oracle of Baal, which persuades its clients that death is the way to ultimate is the way to ultimate transformation and eternal truth. But before these vulnerable believers kill themselves, they are coerced into signing over their financial assets to the Oracle's leaders.
The story is carried by a diverse cast of characters: Dr. Solomon Deal, a professor at the University of London who is an expert on cults and cult mentality; Madame Angeline Love, the cult leader, who insists that Baal is only a self- help group; Spencer Arlen, Love's assistant and much-younger love interest; Susan Evelyn, Rosalinda's daughter, who provides valuable information to Mick about her mother. Finally, Prunella Hamley, who was brutalized by Baal when she attempted to leave the cult. It is Pru who fingers Love and Arlen, bringing them to justice.
This is the fourth book I’ve read in the Mick Chandra series, and it stays true to the style and spirit of the others. If you pick up just this book, you won’t need to worry about being caught up on the past events – Yount does a nice job of summarizing who’s who and what’s what – including the Chandra’s pets, who have themselves become memorable characters. ☺
What impressed me most about this novel was the amazing amount of research on cults that Yount must have done in order to successfully tell this story. It was fascinating to go inside a cult and see what that would be like. She expertly handles the topic, complete with current and former cult members, scholars on the topic, and of course Mick and his partner’s own research and recognizance of the Oracle. It’s frightening to think that this could actually happen in this day and age, but clearly there are people who know how to break the human spirit and take advantage of vulnerabilities.
This series is highly readable and entertaining, and if you are like me and have been with Mick from the beginning, then you will grow fond of the way his family grows, and other recurring characters get married or have other life events happen to them as the novels progress.
If I have to be super nitpicky, there are two things that stood out for me in this novel that I wasn’t wild about. First of all the cover art. The books take place in England, so perhaps what I’m about to say is going to sound ignorant. But doesn’t that look like the Capitol building in Washington DC? And the woman with her back to us – if it’s meant to represent the actress who killed herself at the beginning of the novel, I think that was such a small part of the story that it definitely misleads the reader.
And the other nitpick is that I noticed often in the dialogue, two characters would say something like:
Woman: “Mr. Chandra, I—“
Mick: “Please, call me Mick.”
Woman: “Ok. Thank you. Mick, I –“
It felt a bit like filler text to me since I saw it used 4-5 times throughout. Maybe more. Enough that I felt the need to comment on it!
Despite those little nits I’m still a fan. This book includes a chapter from book five, and I will eagerly await what’s next for Mick and company.
Author's Note: The image on the cover is St. Paul's Cathedral , which is at the end of Millenium Bridge in London.
*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
This giveaway will be open until November 3rd. The prize is one e-copy of THE ORACLE OF BAAL. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted on November 4th. The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen in their place.