BestThrillers.com Review Calls Ghostly Séance "Action-Packed" and "Original," Full of "Flavor and Atmosphere"
The Bottom Line: An action-packed alt history thriller that succesfully blends LA noir and Nazi obsession with the supernatural.
In 1943 Los Angeles, private detective Geno Richter has been hired by the War Department to hunt down Nazi agents, spies and saboteurs. In this, author Daniel P. Douglas’ third book featuring Richter, he’s been assigned a new partner – attractive former Marine Corps nurse Anna Torres.
As the story begins, Richter is looking for Professor Emile Durak, an anthropologist who is suspected of using the Los Angeles Central Library for meetings with Nazi agents. After a series of misadventures in which both Richter and Anna narrowly escape death, they find that Durak is in possession of the Text of Uhaimir, a book containing ancient prophecies. As Durak and his colleagues begin chanting phrases from the manuscript, Richter witnesses a bevy of supernatural events – including his own levitation.
Durak’s plans for harnessing the book’s secrets have potentially cataclysmic implications not just for the war effort, but for humanity. Throughout, Douglas’ riveting plot builds upon the real-life Nazi obsession with witchcraft, paganism and the supernatural power of certain ancient artifacts. Those ambitions are successfully reimagined here in a way that is as original as Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Keeping with noir conventions, Douglas’ prose is deliberately spare. While showcasing some of LA’s historic landmarks, Douglas doesn’t lavish them with long-winded descriptions that might slow down the pace, preferring instead to provide just enough flavor and atmosphere to be meaningful. Accordingly, the narrative crackles with explosive bursts of action, sharp dialogue and 1940s-era colloquialisms. The result is a fast read told in the first person in which Richter is often as surprised by his discoveries as readers are.
Douglas creates additional heft by illuminating the realities of his cast of first and second generation immigrants. Having been born to German parents, Richter encounters plenty of wartime hostility from the local population. He and Anna – who is fluent in English, Spanish and Japanese – visit a Japanese restaurant while acknowledging that many Japanese are in internment camps. Even Detective Tommy O’Malley quips, “I’m Irish. Next to the Italians and Poles, I’m everyone’s favorite joke.” While the book’s alt history provides entertainment value, the novel’s real-life insights remind us that every American immigrant group has overcome huge challenges. While this aspect adds contextual gravity, the book’s tone never gets overly heavy or sinister thanks to ample doses of levity and good-natured banter.
Shop Today for Richter's War: Case of the Ghostly Séance, the latest novel from sci-fi thriller author, Daniel P. Douglas