Jericho Author: Alex Gordon Publisher: Harper Voyager, April 5, 2016 Format: Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages List Price: $14.99 (print); $10.99 (digital) ISBN: 9780061687389 (print); 9780062102331 (digital)
In this follow-up to the masterful debut Gideon, a young witch must risk death and damnation to defeat a powerful ancient evil.
In unearthing her father’s secret past, Lauren Reardon discovered a shocking truth about herself. She is a Child of Endor, a sect of witches who believe they are the guardians of the “thin places”—areas across the globe where evil can seep through the divide between the worlds separating the living and the restless dead. At any time, she can be called upon to close one of these breaches and prevent demons from infiltrating our realm. When Lauren has a disturbing vision of an Oregon forest, she is drawn back to the familiar woods of the misty Pacific Northwest to investigate.
Locals had long whispered about an abandoned logging camp known as Jericho—of the strange disappearances and eerie sounds heard in the woods deep in the night. But these ghost stories only hint at the true evil lurking within the camp’s dilapidated buildings, a primeval malevolence far more terrifying than Lauren’s darkest imaginings. And now, Lauren must face this evil, even if it takes her life . . . even if it costs her soul.
The residents of Gideon, Illinois are witches who follow the teachings of the Lady of Endor. They are entrusted to guard the thin places where supernatural evil seeks to gain entrance into our world. Newcomer Lauren Reardon has been acknowledged as their most powerful practitioner since her victory over the demons that assailed the town six months earlier.
Lauren begins hearing voices beckoning her to a thin place somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. She reluctantly agrees to travel to the secluded woods of Portland Oregon to a gathering of people with similar talents sponsored by business mogul Andrew Carmody.
Upon arrival, Lauren recognizes that her host has ulterior motives for inviting her and the others to his home. Carmody's Peak is said to be cursed and at the nearby abandoned logging town of Jericho, Lauren senses an otherworldly malevolence lurking in its many shadows. As events unfold, Lauren realizes that the abandoned town of Jericho may not be as empty as she was led to believe.
Jericho, Alex Gordon's second book featuring Lauren Reardon, is fraught with tense action and page turning mystery. Due to the setting of Andrew Carmody's high powered world, Jericho has a more modern feel than its predecessor Gideon. This changes the tone of the series slightly which is worth noting because readers looking for the same type of glimpses into the past provided in Gideon may be disappointed. Unlike Gideon, Jericho and its enigmas are as much a puzzle to the protagonist as they are to the reader.
Lauren is a very sympathetic character. Although she's still reeling from the events in Gideon and the secret past her father kept hidden from his family, she continues to persevere. She is appealing because despite her flaws, she's a strong hero that is both compassionate and courageous.
Jericho weaves a web of thrills and chills that is filled with startling plot twists and nail biting action. The woods and their mysterious inhabitants are tangibly ominous, and Jericho's repugnant evil is the stuff of nightmares. However, the plot is somewhat convoluted and I was left feeling both partially disappointed that some of the mysteries remained unanswered, and partially relieved that the graphic details were not disclosed.
I enjoyed Jericho's fast pace, its strong female protagonist and its supernatural elements. Overall, Jericho is engaging and eerie and I would recommend this story to readers who delight in things that go bump in the night. Alex Gordon's series featuring Lauren Reardon is a winner. There's a new witch in town so evil beware!
Jericho can be read as a standalone but I recommend readers start with Gideon, because that's where the story really begins.
Harper Voyager, January 6, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 432 pages
Preston & Child meets Kim Harrison in this edge-of-your-seat debut thriller—a superb blend of mystery, urban fantasy, horror, romance, and the supernatural.
When Lauren’s father dies, she makes a shocking discovery. The man she knew as John Reardon was once a completely different person, with a different name. Now, she’s determined to find out who he really was, even though her only clues are an old photograph, some letters, and the name of a town—Gideon.
But someone—or something—doesn’t want her to discover the truth. A strange man is stalking her, appearing everywhere she turns, and those who try to help her end up dead. Neither a shadowy enemy nor her own fear are going to prevent her from solving the mystery of her father—and unlocking the secrets of her own life.
Making her way to Gideon, Lauren finds herself more confused than ever. Nothing in this small Midwestern town is what it seems, including time itself. Residents start going missing, and Lauren is threatened by almost every townsperson she encounters. Two hundred years ago, a witch was burned at the stake, but in Gideon, the past feels all too chillingly present . . .