Watcher of the Dark by Joseph Nassise
Series: Jeremiah Hunt #3
Published by Tor Books
Published on: November 19th, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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New Orleans was nearly the death of Jeremiah Hunt, between a too-close brush with the FBI and a chilling, soul-searing journey through the realm of the dead that culminated with a do-or-die confrontation with Death himself. But when he performs an arcane ritual to reclaim the soul of the magically gifted, beautiful woman who once saved him, he must flee the law once again, to Los Angeles, city of angels, a temporary sanctuary.
Watcher of the Dark furthers the unfortunate story of one Jeremiah Hunt, once a professor of ancient languages at Harvard University and now a man absorbed in the world of supernatural ghostly affairs. Don’t worry too much about his former career. There are only a couple of instances in which he can use his ears to pick out what language his abductors might be speaking.
Mostly Hunt is one who uses his eyes or lack thereof. You see due to some Faustian bargaining his vision is all scrambled and merits significant explanation both in book and in the review. During the daylight hours, Hunt can see merely a white curtain, an Arctic envelope that comes up even in a dimly lit pool hall.
So what Hunt can most easily navigate is an unlit room. In this environment everything is in a thousand differing shades of grey but Hunt can move without falling all over himself. In certain special cases, especially if there is a ghost nearby or human (willing or unwilling volunteer), Hunt can yank their sight so as to impair the movements of someone else or to aid his own. Also at the base level of Hunt’s ability, he can detect the emotions that have been embedded in objects, all the ghastly energy that a particularly lonely person might invest into their remote control.
Now to transition to the plot, the developments in this book seem relatively minor. All the previous events that are summarized sound like a laser light show in comparison to this Fast & The Furious Los Angeles sorcerer politics. Many colorful minor characters are introduced such as a half-demon, half-human, all curvaceous woman (these are in high demand in urban fantasy these days) and a frequently shirtless tattooed sorcerer.
The problem, if you cannot yet see it, lies in the relevance of these events and side characters to Hunt’s journey. I may have said his story was furthered but, if so, it was moved onwards by the slightest iota. The enigmatic and all-powerful Preacher, complete with gaping sockets where his eyes should be, shows up, without an end game. Some minor bad guys escape, without an end game. And Hunt stays on the run, without an end game.
What keeps this series afloat – if I may make a diagnosis – are the complexities of Hunt’s powers, the difference that his world contains up against ours. I cannot see ghosts. I see with the aid of light. My keyboard shows no emotional energy to me. And Hunt lives like none of that. And just as much he’s a couple breeds removed from your typical urban fantasy protagonist too. There’s the appeal.