The preceding book in this series, Angel Killer, came out in September 2014…
Name of the Devil by Andrew Mayne
This is the second mystery-thriller featuring Jessica Blackwood, born into a household of magicians, but an FBI agent by way of rebellion against a family who expects her to take up the trade.
There’s magic involved, the kind from magicians, and a bit bordering on the supernatural in the form of the mysterious Damien. He’s a character who always knows where Jessica is and what she’s doing. She isn’t always sure if he bears her ill will or not, but he swoops in and saves her life when needed.
When an Appalachian church seems to spontaneously combust after the worshippers are attacked by the sheriff, who seems to have turned into a demon and tried to eat them, Jessica figures there are magic tricks involved. Although she’s not officially allowed to work on the case due to a jealous fellow agent, she manages to worm her way in with the help of some FBI friends and higher-ups.
The secrets behind this initial puzzling and horrific event take Jessica to a gang-infested town in Mexico, an orphanage there, and a strange cave. The events are more complicated and more bizarre than Jessica has first imagined and she ends up having a deadly gang on her trail, trying very hard to kill her. More impossible things happen, but Jessica sees through the subterfuges in the end.
I liked the behind-the-scenes magic tricks that were revealed by Mayne, a talented practicing magician for many years. The way they are woven into the plot is ingenious.
Warning: If you are a devout Catholic, this book may not be for you. A very high figure in the church is not portrayed kindly. But it is fiction.
Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of Eine Kleine Murder, for Suspense Magazine