Sebastian has been asked to look into the disappearance of a fellow Brother of his order. He’s less than happy about it since it means giving up a promising lead on another matter, as well as having to visit Providence, Rhode Island, a place he hates. But as soon as he starts investigating, he is attacked from all sides, by the types of monsters most people don’t even know exist.
One of the things I like best about Junior Inquisitor is that although there has obviously been a lot of thought gone into the world building, not everything gets explained all at once. Given that the main character is a member of a secretive order of monks hunting down witches, there are fresh spins on more than a few mythic monsters, including werewolves and ogres. While there were some details provided, they tend to be sparing, and a fair bit is left to the reader’s imagination.
Written in the first person, we get a lot of Sebastian’s internal life; how much he misses his murdered wife and how he clings to the memories of her playing music. There is also a lot regarding how he feels about some of the things he has to do as part of his mission; lying to a priest who takes him in when wounded, being unable to save a targeted woman. It all adds up to make for an interesting protagonist, especially with what happens to him towards the latter half of the book.
It is a little lighter on supporting characters. Aside from Father Arnold, the priest mentioned above, the only other characters for the bulk of the novel are the main antagonist and his subordinate. While Father Arnold is written well and given some realistic dialogue and intentions, the villains are a bit more one-note. This was the one time where I thought more background would have been nice. There are a number of additional characters introduced in the last third, but only one or two get a chance to shine.
It’s a fast-paced book (I read the bulk of it in a day) with a number of great action sequences and a nice straight-forward writing style. Certainly, there’s a lot for people to like, although it may not be for everyone due to some of the violence and torture scenes. While there was a small sense of resolution at the end of the novel, there was more than enough left over to get me interested in continuing with Brother Sebastian’s story.