A review that originally appeared in Black Static #5:-
HUNTER’S MOON BY DAVID DEVEREUX
Gollancz paperback, 256pp, £6.99
Author Devereux is described as ‘the UK’s first celebrity exorcist’, inviting jokes about how hard can it be to keep Paris Hilton off the spirits and speculation as to the identity of his ‘ghost’ writer. My guess would be Ian Fleming, as this reads like nothing so much as Bond with a wand, the hard edged Daniel Craig reboot.
Jack is a magician by profession and a bastard by disposition. He works for a top secret government agency that deals with threats to national security of an occult nature. His latest case involves a group of goddess worshippers called the Enlightened Sisterhood, who may be dabbling in the black arts, and shutting them down should be routine, but of course things are never that simple. There’s a fly in Jack’s ointment, an ex-CIA trained psychologist with a grudge against her former employers and an almost supernatural ability to bend others to her will. From which point on we run the usual gamut of small victories and terrible reversals of fortune, a succession of frying pans and fires, as Jack kills and tortures his way to a satisfactory resolution.
There’s nothing subtle about any of this. It’s a fast paced plot laced with dashes of kinky sex and ultra-violence, magic and mayhem, doing just enough to hold the attention but without engaging the intellect in any significant way. Jack is a man who doesn’t bother too much about the means as long as they meet his end, in short a not particularly likable character, despite some self-justifying whining about what he has to do to keep all us ungrateful bastards safe in our beds at night, so that even when he ends up tortured it’s hard to care, while a touch of humour at the end is entirely misplaced, undermining what passed for hard edged realism before. One could ask for a more reflective protagonist, someone who is more a thinker and less the man of action, so that the novel’s grey areas could be better addressed, but that’s not where Hunter’s Moon is coming from (and, in fairness to Devereux, such a protagonist would probably get killed halfway through his first mission). It’s entertaining enough taken on its own terms, and as long as you’re not squeamish chances are you’ll have a good time in Jack’s company, but whether you’ll remember anything much about it a few months’ later is doubtful.
I’ve already forgotten everything except the kinky sex. Now, where did I leave those handcuffs?