Author: Brian O’Hare

Series: The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries, Book 3

Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing

Released: February 11, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Modern Detective

The Coven Murders opens with a horrifying account of a ritual Black Mass with a human sacrifice in an abandoned church. Twenty-one years later, near an old ruined church in an area of outstanding natural beauty, Chief Inspector Sheehan and his team discover the skeleton of a young woman. But what seems initially to be a straightforward case, brings the team into conflict with a powerful Satanist who has plans to offer up to Satan another human sacrifice on the evening of the great Illuminati feast of Lughnasa. Several murders occur, baffling the Inspector until he makes a connection between the modern murders and the twenty-one year old skeleton. The team’s pursuit of the murderer, and their determination to protect a young woman who is targeted by the coven, lead to a horrific climax in a hellish underground crypt where Sheehan and his team, supported by an exorcist and a bishop, attempt to do battle with the coven and a powerful demon of Baphomet, jeopardising not only their lives, but risking the wrath of Satan upon their immortal souls.

Brian O’Hare, MA, Ph.D., is a retired assistant director of a large regional college of further and higher education. Married, three children, ten grandchildren, one great grandchild. He plays golf three times a week off a ten handicap and does a lot of voluntary work. Any writing he has previously done was academic…very much restricted to a very specific readership. Several articles in educational journals were followed by a number of book-length reports for the Dept. of Education and the University of Ulster. He has also written an interesting biography of a man who daily performs amazing miracles of healing…The Miracle Ship. That is currently available in Amazon’s Kindle bookstore. Hopefully those who read it will spread the word and write reviews to help John’s message to reach the hearts of many, many people. The Miracle Ship has won top medallist honours in the New Apple 2015 Awards for literary excellence. Brian had a liver disease since childhood which resulted in him taking early retirement a number of years ago. In 2002 he had a liver transplant but is strong and healthy now. He continued to do academic writing well into his retirement and followed that with a memoir about his liver transplant, dealing with the physical, emotional and spiritual experiences that came from that period in his life (A Spiritual Odyssey, published by Columba Press, Dublin). Recently he experienced a desire to write fiction. Hence Fallen Men. It is a story about three priests…but it is religious in much the same way Thornbirds was religious. Fallen Men has won two awards, including top medallist honours in the contemporary fiction category of the 2015 New Apple Awards. He has also finished two further novels, both part of a new series commissioned by Crimson Cloak publishing, The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries.. 

 

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Sheehan and Stewart were quick to answer Miller’s call and arrived at the scene just after the scene-of-crime officers. The chief inspector stared down at the two bodies, at the single deep knife wounds. Disquiet gnawed at him. They looked very similar to the wounds that had been inflicted on the Carringtons. Four murders with what appeared to be the same MO. What the heck is going on here? Again his mind flashed to the altar at the old church with the rusting iron rings at either side. Why am I thinking about that? He shook the thought from his head and briefly surveyed the apartment, its expensive furnishings, the priceless views out over the city. Not short of a dollar or two, these guys.  

We skipped the second installment within The Inspector Sheehan Mysteries and began reading the third one in the series, called The Coven Murders. Thinking only about the name of the book, you definitely get a feel for exactly what this book is about. Yes, there is a practicing coven in Sheehan’s vicinity and murder is the IT game again. This story is a little darker and a bit more into a darker ritualistic practice, but it is a fascinating concept and O’Hare continues to draw readers into the series with the magnitude of his mysteries!

Inspector Sheehan and his team have been through a lot, but when it comes to faith–this is one thing that they have yet to agree on. Everyone in the unit has seen their fair share of creepy and gruesome, but is it truly enough to believe in something that is other-worldly? Sheehan and his team are about to find out as they dive into a case of a twenty year old murder. Human bones outside of an old and ruined church are found, which appear to be that of a young female and the cause of death is later found to be one stab wound to the chest. There are certainly some warning flags that go off when Sheehan trifles through the remains of the church, but he dismisses them all and continues on his way. When they get a call of two new bodies with one stab wound each to the chest, they are cautious to link the two crime scenes together without solid evidence. The MO paints a clear picture that these murders are affiliated once more bodies turn up with the same stab wound, but in what way–that is the mystery!

O’Hare has a superb story-line, filled with creativity, historical elements, and originality. The concepts and the plotting in The Coven Murders are fantastic and will leave the reader with the urge to dive into the next in the series. The pace is quick and steady from the beginning and carries through the entirety of the story. O’Hare provides an urgency to solve the case as sinister and unexplained happenings begin to shroud around the Inspector’s unit. The scenes are vivid for the imagination and characters are credible. This is the third installment in the Inspector Sheehan Mysteries, but these can be read as standalones. With the exception of a few characters that are introduced in previous installments, the crime is totally new and do not warrant an absolute need for their backstory. If you are interested in mysteries, crime fiction, and police procedure, this may be a perfect fit. Fair warning, once you plunge into this novel, you may find yourself picking up the rest of the series soon after.

A paperback copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by the author and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a five-star rating for The Coven Murders by Brian O’Hare.