Death After Midnight, Dean Fetzer (*4 stars)
Grail quest and detection in a future both paranormal and fragmented. This is the second book in the Jaared Sen Quartet (I have yet to read the first), but this book can be easily read as a standalone tale.
The story begins in 1917 in the French village of Rennes-le-Château where Bérenger Saunière, a priest, is found collapsed at the door to his tower. He has fought to protect the object that he has been safeguarding, but loses it to his attacker and also loses his life a few days later.
In the present, this secret that the Priory of Sion protects inspires covetousness in many as they ruthlessly hunt for the object and wonder what power it can bestow on them. At the same time there are those who fight to protect the secret, but who is on which side?
Jaared Sen is tasked by his British masters in The Company to monitor a dubious man called The Head who has shown an interest in the Priory of Sion. The Head employs Stel who is an art historian and Stel works to discover the tracks through history that the Priory of Sion may have left. Emile is an antiques dealer in France who suffers from a leg that troubles him more than he can understand and has his shop broken into, yet nothing is stolen? Paulette is a psychic who watches over Emile and tries to protect and aid him. With the help of his mysterious benefactor Jaared tracks The Head and his dealings and follows him to France as the search and the major players converge.
This is an intriguing and highly entertaining read. A mixture of grail quest and the paranormal set in a futuristic world where people can be rejuvenated, have phones in their heads, and where Britain is a kleptocracy This is a fast paced tale that keeps the reader wanting to know more as they follow the twists and turns of the various characters. The use of language and imagery is fresh and pithy and the hangover descriptions are especially vivid. A good reading choice if you like books by authors such as Kate Mosse, Scott Mariani and Will Adams.