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The Witch Hunter    by Max Seeck order for
Witch Hunter
by Max Seeck
Order:  USA  Can
Berkley, 2020 (2020)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Here's a convoluted mystery, Max Seeck's The Witch Hunter, set in Finland. It centers on Roger Koponen, the bestselling author of a psychological thriller trilogy of the same name. While he's away at a book signing, his wife Maria is found dead. She's posed in a black gown at the dinner table, her face frozen in an unnatural smile - the scene a replica of one from her husband's book.

The lead investigator, Sergeant Jessica Niemi, is driven by her own demons, and keeps deep secrets from her colleagues. Niemi's own back story - in particular a Venetian romance with a controlling abuser - is interleaved with the succession of creatively gruesome killings that she now investigates. All of them recreate scenes from Koponen's trilogy; all the women wear a matched black gown; and there are regular, disturbing links back to Jessica herself.

Gradually, the police determine that there must be multiple perps. One of the victims survives. A video is posted on YouTube of the dead Maria Koponen with droning repeated words, Malleus Maleficarum. They zero in on suspects with links to the occult, and learn that the killers have an inside contact in the police department. It's quite the conspiracy and comes to a head as Jessica confronts the cult's leader up close and personal, when her own connection to it all is revealed.

If you're looking for a spooky, horrifying mystery to set the scene for a scary Hallowe'en, look no further than The Witch Hunter.

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