Demon at the Window by John Quick

Cochran Investigations

Jack Cochran was actually relieved when he was fired from the TBI following one of the strangest cases he'd ever encountered. He decided to try his luck as a Private Investigator, and live out a long-time dream.

What he didn't expect was that his first case would be to track down a stalker who may be an actual, birthed-from-Hell demon intent on killing his clients off one by one. This isn't the case he wanted, but it's the one he ended up with, and he can only hope to survive the DEMON AT THE WINDOW.

I admit this cover drew me in when I saw it advertised by Sinister Grin Press on Twitter - it's retro-hardboiled-paranormal, so I had to check it out. I'm easy that way.

But, I'm happy I'm easy and grabbed it up. Sometimes that works out. I figured it was good, but it turned out slightly better than I figured it'd be.

There's something nifty about blending a little of the paranormal into a detective novel without it being an Urban Fantasy or lighter, cozy mystery. This definitely isn't a cozy mystery, it's pretty hardcore when it comes to some of the squeamish and brutal violence revenge scenes. The villain in question does at time come across a little cheesy because we're following a trope that has been done before, but even the main character does a wink/nod at this aspect by being incredulous that the guy monologues before a revenge kill.

That's not to say there's nothing creepy. It's a detective novel through and through, but it's also horror painted. A guy grinning at you in a fedora and overcoat outside your house is creepy enough in itself. Add in the brutality of any kills and the relentless pursuits of these, and *shudders*

The shining stars of the book are the heroes of the tale. I loved the main detective who is the classic down on his luck ex-cop who is making his living as a struggling private eye. His assistant is a bit of mixed bag. It's not a humor novel, but she brings in some needed humor to lighten up the exchanges and break up some of the dark grittiness they're dealing with - it's needed. Sometimes she's a little too grating on my nerves, but overall she's a good addition. The group who hires the detective aren't focused on too much individually, there's several of them, but they come across real enough. The hiring/payment scene was amusing enough. And way to go Brian with his final stand, the youngest but toughest of the bunch?

I will definitely continue with any new investigations Cochran and crew take on. The author delves into some dark and demented stuff, and not all of these scenes were easy reads on the psyche, but the bringing in the dark side of the paranormal into the urban detective scene totally works. The genre has blended successfully before in classics like Falling Angel (made into the unforgettable movie Angel Heart) and the long-running and well-done Pendergast series from Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, so let's keep bringing in more of this blend.