The Cursed, The Hexed & The Betrayed (Krewe of Hunters)

AudiobookReview

This is the most recent trilogy (books 12,13,14) in the Krewe of Hunters series, a unique unit of the FBI who investigate crimes associated with the paranormal. The finer points and origin of the Krewe and it’s members are integrated into the stories smoothly, so they could be read as stand alone books even though there are considerably more than these three in the series.

  • TheCursedAuthor: Heather Graham
  • Performed by Luke Daniels
  • Published: Brilliance Audio, released by Audible 2014
  • Category: Crime, Suspense, Paranormal, Romance
  • three-half-stars

Hannah O’Brien inherited her great uncle’s haunted Victorian mansion in Key West, which she now runs as a B&B. She has a special ability which allows her to see and speak to the dead, and so she is able to communicate with the two friendly ghosts who haunt her property. When a man is murdered near her house, his spirit appears asking Hannah for help to bring his killers to justice.

Peace and serenity surrounded him. He really did love the Keys. There was something magical that happened once you left the mainland behind. The air was so soft and nice, the lounge so comfortable, that he began to drift off.

Then Shelley screamed. It was a scream of pure and absolute terror.

His eyes flew open as he bolted up and saw…a strange man standing over Shelley. The stranger was gripping his throat with his right hand and making choking noises. Stuart was too startled, too terrified to be sure, but it looked as though something was oozing through the man’s fingers. Blood?

Dallas Sampson, an FBI agent and a member of the Krewe, has abilities himself and is assigned to the case. He knew the murdered man and wants desperately to find his killer. He has the help of other Krewe members, including Hannah’s cousin, Kelsey O’Brien, who we met in an earlier story. Their investigations lead them to a dangerous smuggling ring, Los Lobos, and it’s deadly leader, The Wolf.

The setting in the Keys is fabulous, the legends and the historical details woven into the story brilliantly as always, although a lot of it had been in previous books and seemed to be a mixture of stories gone before. The lost treasure aspect and the ghost tours and somehow I wasn’t really convinced by Hannah and Dallas’ relationship. Having said that the writing was a good as ever and the location descriptions are clear and distinct. The ghosts’ stories are effective and I like how their characters are developed. 

  • TheHexedAuthor: Heather Graham
    Performed by Luke Daniels
    Published: Brilliance Audio, released by Audible 2014
    Category: Crime, Suspense, Paranormal, Romance
  • four-half-stars

Set in Salem, Massachusetts, to where Devin Lyle has returned after working as a journalist in Boston. Her beloved Great Aunt Mina has passed away and left her cottage in the woods to Devin, who is now a children’s author writing witchy stories in honour of her aunt, known as the ‘witch in the woods’.

Every once in a while Devin Lyle couldn’t help herself. People did such outrageous things sometimes that she just had to step in….

“Burn witch! Burn!” a young man said. Despite his words, he was actually reverently placing a flower on the bench dedicated to one of the victims of the witch trials.

“How horrible. I can’t even imagine burning to death,” and older woman said.

“Excuse me,” Devin said. “None of the condemned in Salem were burned. Nineteen were hanged, and one man, Giles Corey, was pressed to death.”

Craig ‘Rocky’ Rockwell has been transferred to the Krewe specifically to investigate what seem to be ritualistic murders in Salem, which mimic chillingly the murder of a childhood friend thirteen years previously. His and his friends’ lives were changed forever and now, as more bodies are discovered, it seems the Krewe have a serial killer running loose. Rocky can’t discount anyone as suspects, not even his old friends.

Devin is guided to a body in the woods by a ghostly figure and she is drawn into the investigation and also to Rocky. She is taken aback when she realises she can see and speak to the dead. 

The fascinating information, and vivid history, about Wicca, Salem and the witch trials is threaded in throughout. The descriptions brought the place alive for me and, as it’s somewhere I really want to visit, the draw was there from the start. I like the well defined characters in this story, especially Devin’s Aunt Mina, and the way the relationship between Rocky and Devin develops, but not overwhelming the story, and the focal point is always the murders and mystery.

  • TheBetrayedAuthor: Heather Graham
    Performed by Luke Daniels
    Published: Brilliance Audio, released by Audible 2014
    Category: Crime, Suspense, Paranormal, Romance
  • four-stars

Aiden Mahoney, an FBI agent and new member of the Krewe, is sent to Sleepy Hollow because a prominent politician, Richard Highsmith who is an old friend of Aiden’s, has gone missing. Aiden heard Richard’s voice in a dream and it doesn’t bode well. Aiden isn’t comfortable with, and struggles to acknowledge, his gift. He views the Krewe as investigators of the paranormal, or weird stuff, and is unsure about becoming a part of the team. But they could see in him what he didn’t want to see in himself.

“They got me, my old friend. They got me.”

Aiden Mahoney woke with a start. His room was dark; instinct made him reach for the Glock at his bedside and then remain dead still. Listening.

He’d heard the words as clearly as if they’d been spoken directly in front of him. And when he’d first opened his eyes, he could have sworn that there’d been a form – the form of a man. A man beseeching him – for help. Tall, nicely dressed in suit, leaning towards him.

But he’d blinked. And now….There was no one.

Mo Deauville, who also has the ability to see and speak with the dead, and her dog, Rollo the Irish Wolfhound (I love Rollo), search for missing people and it’s she who finds Richard, or more precisely, his head which has been stuck on the fabled statue of the Headless Horseman. The legend of which is well-known in the area and it’s coming up to Halloween which adds to the atmosphere, as the Sleepy Hollow legend appears to be coming true.

I didn’t know anything about Sleepy Hollow or Washington Irving, or even the fact that he wrote ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’, and found it all very interesting. So, as well as Irving’s ghost haunting his mansion, there are the costumed haunted tours in spooky graveyards and mausoleums, more headless bodies and the growing attraction between Aiden and Mo. The suspense and intrigue were all there and I couldn’t guess who ‘done it.’ 

Ms Graham uses a formula for paranormal/romance/mystery stories that more often than not works extremely well and I especially like the lore, legend and history of each locale. And as ever, Luke Daniels’ performance is impressive and dramatic, each character is voiced with individuality.

 The Krewe of Hunters Series may be found at Amazon UK and Amazon US

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