Mask of Bone, Book III in the Chemist Trilogy. Fearless Publishing, copyright and written by Janson Mancheski.
Although a standalone book published first in 2011, this series of activities follows Cale van Waring, Senior Detective Investigating Officer of a series of kidnappings in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Through grinding detective work, a little luck and strangely a little help from his significant other’s clairvoyant sister, he manages to apprehend the perpetrator in a shoot-out, saving his loved one’s life while doing so. In the second volume, the reader discovers that, even though receiving commendations for his heroic activity, he is relieved from duty for two weeks for ignoring basic police rules. The kidnapper, after his incarceration, attempts to avoid a murder charge for the death of his first victim, by providing the name of a man who had been deported from Great Britain as a Liberian National associated with human trafficking. Through FBI connections Cale discovers that this is not a ploy but that the man actually exists. Thus, in typical Cale fashion, he decides to follow the killer named by the serial human bondage kidnapper and return him to the U.S. In this third volume Cale, with his group of mercenaries move from their headquarters in Italy to Belgium where the killer is attending a party held by an extremely wealthy and prominent buyer of trafficked women. Not only is the killer a guest at the man’s Chateau, but there is additional information that one or more of the Green Bay captives also are there. It seems that the Chateau owner is especially prominent in, and holding a week-end soiree, for other fetish lovers from numerous countries, and where his specially attired and trained team of trafficked women is the favorite to win the featured race. It further is reported that one of the Green Bay captives is a member of this team. So Cale’s objective becomes first to rescue the girl and another of the green Bay women also reportedly there. Simultaneously with these activities, Colonel Tazeki “Taz” Mabutu, the head of the Liberian National Police with whom Cale tangled so nearly disastrously in Liberia is moving further on the attack of Cale and those close to him for wrongs he unknowingly performed against the colonel. It seems that Taz also is an extremely highly placed African voodoo priest, a botono or master of all loa, especially the petro loa or dark gods. As such, it is believed Taz can possess another person’s body turning them into a zombie slave to do the botomo’s bidding as well as perform other dastardly effects. The abundant action is concentrated first on the attempt to rescue the girls followed by Taz’s strange and gruesome voodoo activity with Cale’s love, her clairvoyant sister and Cale’s long-time partner heavily involved.
Discussion: This third volume follows the high octane activity established and carried through the first two volumes and again should be sufficient to satisfy the suspenseful thriller devotee. Regrettably, for this reader and perhaps unfortunately for other more pragmatic individuals, several features have lessened appreciation of this series. The supportive procedural police work presented in the first volume was gradually replaced by less credible activity in volume two and this volume seems but an extension of the same with final concentration on the occult. Granted, the action still is intense and to reiterate no doubt manages to retain this element sufficiently to satisfy devotees, although these individuals now must also lean heavily toward tales of the occult for their satisfaction.
3* 4*for continued action; 3* or less for reasons described.