Score: 91/100 (9.1 out of 10)
The Windy City Terror by Miguel Angel Hernandez Jr. blends elements of crime drama, detective mystery, murder mystery, horror, fantasy, and even sci-fi into this compelling tale akin to an episode of Grimm.
The Windy City Terror is the fourth book in this series that follows former police detective Griffin Knight, a veteran of law enforcement embittered by the constraints of the law. Having served with and/or assisted Seattle Police Department, New York Police Department, and Chicago Police Departments, he becomes frustrated with the law's lack of initiative and need to obey the fourth and fifth amendments of the constitution. Despite loving and respecting the constitution and the law, he realizes that there are times when you need to do what must be done to save lives and defeat evil.
In response to this epiphany, he officially resigns from his job with law enforcement and co-founds an independent, private investigator group called the “Night Chasers” alongside his friends and former colleagues Samira, Alister, Noah, and Ashe.
Each brings their own areas of expertise to every investigation with Griffin himself serving as the front and the muscle. Samira is an expert in medical science while Alister, Noah, and Ashe serve a technical support role similar to your Codec support team in a Metal Gear game. Among the techys, Ashe stands out for her technical wizardry and often times seems like the MVP of the support team.
These skills are especially useful considering how bizarre almost all of Knight's cases are, often featuring fantastical, sci-fi, or pseudo-paranormal elements. This is, in a sense, as much of a monster-hunting series as it is a detective mystery series. We often venture into Scooby Doo or Phoenix Wright territory with how over-the-top and absurd some of these cases are.
The main case in this particular book centers around the brutal killings of people whose mutilated, dismembered bodies are found around the city and in the sewers. Their bodies appear to have been mauled by a large animal like a bear, a wolf, or a lion, things which naturally aren't thought to inhabit the metropolitan area.
While the previous book teased us with the possible presence of a real-life vampire, this book presents the prospect that there may be a WEREWOLF stalking the streets and sewers of Chicago!
What we appreciated about this book is that the author went all-in on the fantastical itch he clearly has, presenting us with a true monster this time.
At the same time, we wouldn't say the villain or villains are inherently evil like the previous ones arguably were. These villains seem to have pretty understandable motivations. In fact, their motives and intentions are good, but their actions and the results clearly aren't.
This is another Frankenstein or Jekyll & Hyde case in which science that was intended for healing and good is now being used for harm and evil. We actually sympathized with the villains a little, in stark contrast to how we felt about the previous villains. You can see where they're coming from. Does that completely excuse their actions and the bloody results? No. But it does get us more involved with the characters and the story than in the previous book.
Check it out on Amazon!