Wednesday, January 2, 2019
Book Review: 'Haunted Blood: A Paranormal Mystery Thriller (Crimes of Spirit)' by Elik Katzav
‘By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes’ - Shakespeare
Israeli author Elik Katzav has been ‘a gamer, a bookkeeper, carny, a webmaster, an app developer, a startup entrepreneur, a dogsitter and an educator.’ But his heart lies in telling stories – and from this initial publication of HAUNTED BLOOD it is clear that he has a keen talent for his passion.
Paranormal thrillers require a fine balance between creating a tale that terrifies and one that leads us into paranormal concepts that enhance the story rather than draw attention to the strangeness for its own sake. Elik has found that balance. He sets his story in Nazareth – ‘Father Conroy raises his tea cup and takes a small sip. He seems heavier than in the photo in the file I had received back at the station. In addition, his red hair is beginning to turn gray. He watches the people all around us nervously, as every now and then someone glanced at this priest, sitting with another man in the middle of an intimate café. His green eyes seem sunken and weary, the eyes of a man who has not slept well for quite some time. Father Conroy came to us via the Nazareth Police. He had told them about a number of suspicions transactions at the local Synagogue Church. - So how are you enjoying life in Nazareth? Must be quite different from what you were accustomed to back in Ireland, eh?” Father Conroy gives me a faint smile. “It certainly is different,” he answers in a heavy Irish accent. “The weather in particular, but one gets used to it, you know; I’ve been in Israel for over a decade now.” - Yes, so I read. And you’ve been in Nazareth since then, right? “I have been in charge of managing the funds of the Church of the Annunciation and Synagogue Church from the very first days of my arrival in Israel. I asked to come here, to the cradle of Christianity. This country holds the history of my spiritual world. “You must understand, I am taking quite a risk making this move. I could lose my position at the church if they were to find out I revealed our internal affairs to outsiders, to the police.”
Strange ideas and tempting intrusions into the realm of terror are simply hidden in these opening words – but as the story progresses, the plot follows the following outline – ‘A missing reporter is found drained of blood after being murdered in a ritualistic ceremony. Now, a young boy has gone missing. David used to be a police detective before he was shamefully dismissed for claiming that a demon possessed an old priest. Now, he is taking odd jobs as a private eye and investigating the disappearance of a missing boy. As his investigation progresses, he becomes certain that supernatural forces are involved. The theft of an ancient pagan god statue from a museum, a patient in a psych ward who claims she took part in secret sacrificial killings, and a ruthless cult leader who will stop at nothing, all allow David to understand evil things are coming his way. David must solve the mystery before the clock strikes zero. If he doesn’t find the boy, he will lose himself as well.’
This is one very impressive debut novel. Watch this spinner of tales grow!
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.