Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
It's 1878 and Tom Hatcher, a famous Montreal detective, has been employed by a rich fur trader to investigate several deaths at a fort in the Ontario wilderness. The deaths are initially thought to be the work of a ferocious bear but news of a horrifying plague in a nearby fort points to something far more terrifying.
Father Xavier is a catholic priest entrusted by the church to perform exorcisms, he finds himself working alongside Tom to solve the mysterious and violent deaths, convinced that it is more than just a virus or a madman on the loose.
This was an incredibly engrossing read and not one that I expected, a blending of multiple genres is used to build a story that is highly detailed and layered with elements of native Indian folklore, demonic possession, cannibalism and serial killers. Moreland apparently researched this book for two years and it shows in the amount of detail that he has put into each chapter. Nothing is revealed quickly but the pacing never suffers as the mystery unravels piece by piece, this kept me turning the pages and at times I was reluctant to put this read down, especially towards the end as it raced towards the conclusion.
The multiple storylines keep everything moving along nicely and the author uses every opportunity to add a bit more to each main character, fleshing them out and making them believable and sympathetic. There are no run of the mill 'good' or 'bad' guys here, each character is given traits that you can both admire and despise, this doesn't turn you off the protagonists in the story, Tom and Father Xavier, but only serves to make you understand them and their personal demons all the more.