Saturday, July 23, 2011
BookNotes: An Altar by the River by Christine Husom
When I began this book, I had two things that Christine said about it in mind: that is a chilling tale and that she knows where the altar is, she has seen it. She said that her books except for the upcoming 4th volume were based on true crimes.
When the story opened with a man fearing his brother was heading to Winnebago County to an undisclosed location for a Satanic Ritual in which he planned to sacrifice himself, I thought hmmm, this is sort of far fetched. Looking at old news reports though, there was a case in Minnesota in 1983 (about the time I came back to live in Minnesota from years in the eastern wilds). Unfortunately, based on real information indeed.
It became disturbingly believable that an age old cult would have members hidden among ordinary folk in society. They could have members in useful professions such as medicine, funeral services and police forces who would help keep their activities secret and successful.
One of the most appealing things about this mystery series are Sergeant Aleckson's family and friends and co-workers. Over the course of the three novels these people have become familiar and a wonderful solid support system for Corrine.
An Altar by the River puts a doubt in the reader's mind as to who can be trusted and who might be completely evil. The weaving of familiarity and safety written into the three novels is shattered as the investigations go on and it is clear someone very close cannot be trusted.
I highly recommend the series, and you should read them in sequence since each picks up right where the last left off. Characters including the villains do not go away but they have resounding effects on the lives of their victims and the police officers who put their lives on the line to make life safer for all of us.