DARK DEBTS By Karen Hall – Reviewed

Randa Philips gets a call from her ex-boyfriend telling her to come to meet him quickly in the middle of the night. She goes, not even knowing why. But when she arrives, she’s too late. He’s already thrown himself off the top of his building. After committing an armed robbery where he killed someone.

Jack is the last member of his family, he’s not sure how he knows, but he does know that his brother is dead. His third brother to die, the first committing suicide (or possibly killed by their father), the second being executed by the state for murder, and the third again dying at his own hand. The same as their mother and father, both of whom committed suicide. As the town outcast Jack hides in a basement flat and awaits his fate.

Michael is a Jesuit priest struggling with his faith when his grandfather dies. Torn between love and the church, Michael is drawn into a battle between good and evil when he is called upon to be part of an exorcism.

These three very different characters are brought together to be part of the eternal battle as Satanism and devil worship, rape and family curses all come together.

This is a kind of modern retelling of The Exorcist, but not quite as scary. Although this is nice and dark throughout, the end gets a bit too Jesusy for me. I can quite easily believe in demons and dark ghostly figures, but seem to find it much more difficult to believe in good and helpful spirits.

This is a pretty good book, developing nicely as the tale continues. Hall can certainly write, and keeps your intrigues to see how all these disparate threads of plot will come together.

There are a few cringe-worthy moments when you feel Hall is attempting to convert you to Catholicism, but generally these are few and don’t detract too much from the story.

It’s a mystery thriller with a supernatural bent which will keep you reading with excitement to the end.

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