Richard Fletcher is the kind of guy who you probably don’t notice if you see him. He is overweight, unpopular with girls and mostly keeps to himself. For entertainment he joined a group of witch hunters but he didn’t believe that witches or black magic was real. Then one night Richard is contacted to take a reporter and cameraman out on a witch hunt and his whole life changes.
Richard was ready to put on a show for the news crew but finds out that everything he thought was a hoax was real. Now not only does he have to save himself, he has to save the reporter and cameraman along with stopping an evil, ancient witch from preying on innocent victims. Richard has to rely on spells and rituals that he thought were fake and find the inner strength that he didn’t know he had to survive the night.
I can’t say enough good things about Witch Hunter Into The Outside by J.Z. Foster. The author paints a vivid picture the way he describes the settings such as the witch’s house and the forest surrounding it. I also liked that he talks about supernatural creatures that I’ve never heard of before such as a mob of sankai and a wight. The fact that I had to look up what these creatures were shows me that J.Z. was trying to keep things original. One of my favorite scenes was when we meet the wight in a dark basement, after the perfect creepy setup we find the wight to be pretty funny, this story is full of surprises.
The best part of the book has to be Richard, he is a self-proclaimed looser and everyone treats him that way. He doesn’t see himself as a hero and doesn’t want to be one. He’s just a guy doing what he feels he has to do. I loved that the two people he was with were his exact opposites making him even more uncomfortable in the face of danger. Ted the cameraman is the athletic type with a bad temper and Beth is a beautiful reporter who is looking for her big break. In the beginning Richard tries to impress them and shows his awkwardness by how he talks and the way he holds himself. You constantly see him get put down which makes him someone you have to root for. The relationship between the three changes throughout the book. Even as Richard proves himself it doesn’t change their feelings towards him or his own feelings towards himself. In one scene that describes Richard well he thinks how he prefers the black and white world of fantasy over the real world with all of its confusing angels.
Witch Hunter Into The Outside is the type of book that shows you how good a horror novel can be. It has great characters, a few good laughs and plenty of scares and suspense. The story is deceptively simple but the relationship between the three main characters along with the witch and his minions are complex. My first thought on the witch was that somehow it was a hoax and he wasn’t very strong. Though little by little you see that isn’t true. This is one of those type of books where the characters are so interesting that the story doesn’t matter. I’m hoping this is the first book in a series because I would love to see these characters again.