Here, There Be Monsters (Dark Quest)

by John L. French

I first met the book’s protagonist in a collaborative book done by John L. French and Patrick Murphy – part of the Hell’s Detective series, and I asked for more from the author. He sent me Here, There Be Monsters, and I am glad he did.

Meet Bianca Jones, a rather diminutive female detective with the Baltimore Police Department. Her short story collection reads like a novel – every chapter is a complete, enclosed story but the book has an overall story arc, too.

Bianca, all of five-foot nothing, ends up handling all of the occult and paranormal things that threaten Charm City. She’s with special investigations and only her boss and the Baltimore police commissioner see her reports – before the reports are destroyed. She handles zombies, vampires, inter-dimensional breaches, the terrifying results of kids playing around with the occult, and the even worse adults who are not playing when they intentionally invoke the powers of hell.

Those who are fans of the Dresdenverse will see the parallels between Bianca Jones and Karin Murphy, but they are only superficial. She’s not backing up a wizard: instead, she is backed up by other members of the force (such as Joe in forensics), and by Morgan – the ancient gnomish owner of a bookstore that has more than its share of arcane books and fills her, and the readers, in on the details of the latest threat.
From a technical standpoint, I enjoyed watching the author’s growth and could tell which were his earlier shorts in this volume from his later ones, but even the earlier tales were very good indeed. If you like paranormal noir crime fiction, you’ll love Here, There Be Monsters.

(Here’s our review of another Bianca Jones book: https://www.abyssapexzine.com/2016/09/aa-reviews-rites-of-passage-a-dma-casefile/)

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