Salem, Massachusetts has a rich and strange history. It is a beautiful coastal town that is now best known for its history with the Salem Witch Trials. Centuries ago the mass hysteria led to numerous accusations of witchcraft and many innocents died. Now a series of heinous murders, Lizzie Borden style murders, may lead to the lifelong incarceration of a true innocent. Jenna Duffy, a member of the Krewe of Hunters, is asked by her uncle to come to Salem and investigate and perhaps save Malachi Smith, the accused murderer. Is there an old evil lurking in Salem or is this just another case of people judging what they don't understand? The Evil Inside by Heather Graham is the fourth in the Krewe of Hunters series and seeks to answer these questions.
Jenna begins to work unofficially with her uncle to investigate these bizarre murders. Is it possible that Malachi may have killed his family, a neighbor and a former school teacher without knowing it? What was his motive? Jenna and Uncle Jamie feel that Malachi may be railroaded because of his family's unconventional religious beliefs (hard to believe that a town can embrace Wicca but have a problem with a fundamentalist Christian faith). Malachi's father wasn't loved or understood and was inordinately strict but, were these grounds for murder? Fortunately Jenna and Uncle Jamie are assisted by a well-known Boston attorney, Samuel Hall. Their investigation starts with the house that was the scene of several historical murders just like the Smith family's murders. What follows isn't really a paranormal thriller than a basic whodunit mystery. As a mystery, The Evil Inside keeps the reader on the edge with the story twists and turns. The initially antagonistic relationship between Jenna and Sam quickly devolves into the expected love-fest. This story doesn't involve as many of the Krewe of Hunters, Jackson, Angela and Will make appearances and play secondary roles in the investigation. Jake makes cameo appearances by phone consultations. The ghost of Rebecca Nurse, the first to die as a result of the Salem Witch Trials, makes periodic appearances as well.
The Evil Inside does a great job of weaving the factual history of the Salem Witch Trials into the fictional story line. The inclusion of the ghost of Rebecca Nurse is a nice touch. As a romantic suspense-thriller, this falls a little short. This may be because it has more focus on the sexual aspects of the relationship and not so much on the romance. But as a suspense thriller it excels, with the thrills and mystery front and center. Ms. Graham has taken fact and fiction and woven them into a great story. The Evil Inside is a great suspense-thriller with paranormal elements and a light romance thrown in . . . a perfect read for the weekend. The Evil Inside is scheduled for release on August 30th.
Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."