This is a Badlands novella, the sequel to Badlands. I was excited to return to the world of Vic and Simon, who are some of my favorite characters. In this novel, Simon discovers that two murders–one in Myrtle Beach and another in Pittsburgh–are supernaturally linked. He also learns that one of the Old Ones–a very old mythical creature–is making people’s lives miserable after giving them a year of splendor. This takes place just before Christmas, too. Can Vic and Simon stop a Krampus before it’s too late?
Vic and Simon are partners, in both sense of the word, and it shows. They have moved in together, and their co-habitation only makes their relationship stronger. Vic worries that Simon won’t want to stay with him because of what he deals with as a homicide detective; but Simon proves that he is here to stay.
The murder cases are interesting, and I really enjoyed learning about German folklore, especially the Krampus, which is pretty scary stuff. I wouldn’t want to misbehave if I was threatened with a half-demon, half-goat creature punishing me.
It’s interesting to see how well Simon and Vic compliment each other. They work hard, and work well with each other to crack cases. Simon has his Skeleton Crew, and Vic has his co-workers on the force. With each of their contacts, including two new guys who also deal in folklore and supernatural instances, Simon and Vic are able to figure out who and what has been harming people in their latest murder case.
As the book title suggests, Myrtle Beach and Pittsburgh are lucky to have Simon and Vic on the case. Without them, ghosts wouldn’t be able to pass on peacefully, and supernatural killers would go without punishment.
I liked how we got to meet Vic’s family, the vast majority of them on the force. His family is big, loud, and something Simon takes in stride. I loved how kind and thoughtful Vic’s mom and dad were with the couple, welcoming them with open arms and bone-cracking hugs. I thought it was cool how Vic’s family let them fit right in, amid the large family get together’s. Simon’s clairvoyance and psychic medium abilities were accepted with open minds, as well. He was able to communicate Bernie’s mom’s thoughts as she talked to her daughter through Simon.
A run-in with Vic’s ex Nate only proves that the cops in Pittsburgh have Vic and Simon’s backs, which was pretty awesome to witness. Nate was drunk, and being a jerk to Simon, insulting him and Vic. It was heartening to watch Simon defend himself, and for Vic to slam Nate against a wall, which he deserved.
Without giving too much away, this new case is interesting, because it deals with more supernatural elements. The Krampus and the man controlling him rue the day they run into Miss Eppie–an older woman who kicks ass with her spells–as well as Simon and Vic. The climactic fight was intense, and I loved seeing Simon use more of his magic.
This is a fun, fast-paced novella, one that holds your interest as the plot heats up towards the supernatural conclusion. It was fun to hang out with Vic and Simon again. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next installment in the Badlands novels, The Rising.