Book Critique: Dark Rites (Krewe of Hunters # 22)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3.5 / 5

Recommendation: Yes, pick it up for a mystery involving paranormal elements, historical flair and the romantic side of the plot. 

Dark Rites is the twenty second book in the Krewe of Hunters series by Heather Graham and published in July of 2017. The plot again centers around Victoria "Vicki" Preston - working with a private charity called Grown Ups helping kids in foster care system - and Griffin Pryce - FBI Special Agent from The Krewe of Hunters, but with a new case again set in Boston, MA.

This book forms the second book in the fifth trilogy within the series, the first being the previous book Dying Breath. In the beginning Heather had plots for each of the Krewe of Hunters as team members were introduced. But from the 9th book onward, she has made those plots into trilogies within the series, that either revolve around the same set of characters or characters flowing from one book to next in the trilogy with new lead characters added. 

Her First trilogy is made of the ninth book The Night is Watching; the tenth book The Night is Alive; the 11th book The Night is Forever. Second trilogy is made of the 12th book The Cursed, 13th book the Hexed and 14th book The Betrayed. Third Trilogy has the 15th book The Silenced, 16th book The Forgotten and the 17th book The Hidden. Fourth Trilogy has three books set on Celtic American Cruise-Line ships - 18th book Haunted Destiny on Destiny, 19th book Deadly Fate on Fate and 20th book Darkest Journey on Journey.

Krewe are a secret FBI unit with each member of the unit honing a particular psychic talent of their own, making them the paranormal investigating team. This unit was created to deal with murders having supernatural undertones and paranormal activities. Headed by paranormal investigator Adam Harrison, this elite unit is called on to solve cases linked to historical and paranormal mystery involving legendary crime and serial killings, war events and hauntings. The Krewe are divided into three distinct groups. The first group is led by Jackson Crow, who is also the Assistant Director of the Krewe, and called as the original Krewe of Hunters; the second group is led by Texas Ranger Logan Raintree and called as the Texas Krewe; the third group is Yankee Krewe, based in NYC, overseen by Jackson Crow. A possibility of a fourth group in Miami, FL is touched upon in the 17th book The Hidden.

At the end of the previous book, Dying Breath, we had seen that FBI Special Agent Griffin Pryce and Victoria "Vicki" Preston, a social worker, had decided to move to Virginia where the Krewe of Hunters base was, the team that Griffin worked with. However, right before they move, Vicki's friend, Alex Maple, youngest history professor at Harvard, is beaten and left to dead with a note quoting an old warning on him. The plot begins three weeks after the incident.

Three weeks after the incident, and after being discharged from the hospital, Alex Maple suddenly disappears. While Vicki and Griffin try to piece together information to find Alex, a plethora of random attacks everywhere around Boston occur, where the attacker leaves a quote from an old warning about witchcraft. 

Vicki is again pulled into the investigation of these attacks. And Griffin is determined to keep her alive, while search for Alex as well as the attacker who was terrorizing Boston is being done in parallel. But will they be able to capture the killer this time or be close to their last rites instead?

Being the second book in the trilogy, naturally you expect some of the characters to flow through - Roxanne Greeley, Vicki's long-time best friend; Dylan Ballantine and Darlene Dutton, Vicki's resident ghosts; Alex Maple, Vicki's history professor.

The Krewe of Hunters and Boston PD who work with Griffin in this case are - Detective David Barnes from Boston PD; Craig "Rocky" Rockwell, FBI Special Agent from The first Krewe team based in Virginia and his wife Devin Lyle, a children's book author and a Krewe agent; Jackson Crow, Assistant Director of Krewe and his wife Angela Hawkins, a Krewe agent as well. Although, Heather Graham again has the list of cast and characters of her plot in the beginning of the book, which has been doing from past few books.

The characters are as usual fun and loving even though there is terror on every corner of the page. Although I felt that Vicki Preston sounded a bit whinier in this plot compared to the previous book. 

I marvel at how Heather brings the history and paranormal elements together with a seamless string that makes it a phenomenal plot. She gives the readers a view into the past through artifacts, tours, researches and just plain history. In this plot, they revolve around Satan and Satanic Cults; giving a chill up the reader's back.

You will find again are pages at the end of the book where it gives reader an opportunity to either join a book club and win books, or buy a book and get a few free. Again there are quite a few grammatical or character or location errors in this book. Definitely a strong editing needed.

I see a pattern to Heather Graham's stories in the Harrison Investigations and Krewe of Hunters series, apart from the presence of ghosts and spirits. Usually the stories revolve around historical inferences, somehow connecting the past to the present either by way of characters or incidents and they involve hidden tunnels be it in cemetery or old houses or mortuaries. Always has one new pair of Krewe of Hunters or Harrison Investigations investigators. And could she please have her heroines be more smarter than just running to the bad guys alone, when she has so much of help around from FBI and her friends.

However since Deadly Fate, she has added another element to her plots. Adam Harrison buys an old theater in Alexandria, VA. And slowly he has been adding talented partners of his Krewe of Hunters into that theater work. So far Clara Avery, whom we met in Deadly Fate and fiancée to Thor Erikson, is assigned as the artistic director of that theater. And joining her are Charlene "Charlie" Moreau fiancée to Ethan Delaney, whom we met in Darkest Journey; and Alexi Cromwell, whom we met in Haunted Destiny and Jude McCoy's fiancée.

A very good mingle of murder and mystery; past and present; Satan, Cults and Rituals; and above all romance and love. Although for most part a successful thriller in the series of books under Krewe of Hunters by Heather Graham that is an easy ready and still enjoyable.

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot Reveals:

a.  Apparently Roxanne Greeley, Vicki's friend, can draw excellently from memory or someone's description. Barnes suggests that she could work for BPD. 

2. Sub Plots:

a. In eleventh book, The Night Is Forever, Dustin Blake was part of an FBI team consisting of Grant Shelby, Cindy Greenstreet and Jerry Gunter. I am wondering why Heather Graham had mentioned their complete names as well as a brief intro, albeit as part of the conversation. Will they resurface in future plots is something we have to wait and see.

b. Dustin Blake has a sister Rayna Blake who is a Nashville sensation - a country music singer. I wonder if Heather Graham will use her as a lead character in a future book.

c. Katie O'Hara and David Beckett are two characters in the 12th book The Cursed. And a history into their background paused me to think they might be characters from another of Heather Graham book. I was pretty sure they weren't from Krewe of Hunters or Harrison Investigation series. A little dig on google pointed me to Ghost Shadow, the first book in Bone Island Series by Heather Graham published in 2010. Having not yet read that series, I am curious if Hannah O'Brien or Liam Beckett, David's brother, appear in that book as well. 

d. Jane Everett and Sloan Trent were part of Team Two: Texas Krewe. But in the 14th book The Betrayed, Heather mentions that they were going to be permanent members of the Yankee Krewe. Have to read the rest of the books to know if that is where she sends them. 

e. In the 16th book The Forgotten, Dr. Phil Kinny seemed have paranormal abilities. Will he be a main character in another book?

f. In the 18th book, Haunted Destiny, Heather Graham introduces us to the large family of Alexi Cromwell, albeit only as a conversation - her parents, a brother who is an artist, a sister Sienna who is a doctor. Curiously enough only Sienna's name is mentioned in the plot and none of the other family members.  May be we will see Sienna again, hence her mentioned explicitly.

g. In the 20th book, Darkest Journey, Heather introduced a photographer, Chance Morgan, who could see ghosts as well. A future plot perhaps.

3. Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 88, Line 5 from bottom, it should be "…friend of mine dropped…"

b. On Pg. 141, Heather mentions that the FBI agents and Vicki were going to meet with one of the detectives who had worked one of the victim's case in Fall River. But on Pg. 142, she as them meet with both the detectives on the case.

c. On Pg. 141, Heather gives no mention of the FBI agents and Vicki meeting with another retired detective while at Fall River. But then suddenly he pops up in their conversations when they are deciding who heads where on Pg. 147.

d. Beginning of Chapter 12, Heather has a conversation between FBI Special Agent Griffin Pryce and Boston PD Detective David Barnes, where Barnes tells Griffin that Vicki's friend Roxanne was heading out along with Officer Tracy to Fall River to sketch a suspect. However On Pg. 284, Griffin appears surprised when Barnes relates that both Roxanne and Officer Tracy had together handed in over a sketch, he was surprised that Roxanne went with Tracy. Am I the only one seeing the disconnect?


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