Review: The Possession by Michael Rutger

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Still recovering from the shocking revelations they uncovered deep in uncharted territory in the Grand Canyon, American myth and legend investigator Nolan Moore and his team take on a new mission, investigating a rumored case of witchcraft and possession.

Nolan hopes their new case, in a quaint village in the middle of the woods, will prove much more like those he and his team investigated prior to their trip to Kincaid’s cavern. But as the residents accounts of strange phenomena add up, Nolan and company begin to suspect something all too real and dangerous may be at play. A force that may not be willing to let them escape the village unscathed.

The Anomaly Files is back! The gang – Nolan, Ken, Molly and Pierre – are looking for their next big show, and they find it in a little town where a teenage girl has gone missing. This town is plagued with inexplicable occurrences that increase in menace, leaving the team with one agenda: getting out alive.

This was a weird one for me. I enjoyed it, but I was also disappointed with it too. I was really into getting into this sequel, but toward the end at about 70%, it went pear shaped and felt rather anticlimactic.

The Possession went out of its way to mention very little of the events in The Anomaly – literally, between the characters, it’s only mentioned in a couple of throwaway sentences, here and there. So, if you’re wanting to read this as a standalone, it will probably work, bearing in mind the odd detail from the first book. Unfortunately… this approach didn’t work for me, having read the first book. It removed that comradery and shared trauma sentiment between the characters and the reader, like we’d been in it together and we just don’t talk about almost life ending drama.

But like The Anomaly, the characters are at the heart of the book. Ken is one of the funniest characters I’ve read – I love his rugged sense of humour. As soon as his first dialogue came up, I was smiling. I felt like I was reunited with a friend I’d not seen in a while. All of the character interactions (but especially Ken’s) brought the same mirth and entertainment delivered in the first book.

The other big issue was I felt too much of the story focused on a philosophical debate centred on science vs. supernatural. Ultimately, yes, it tied into the overall story, but it was a chore to read with the amount of emphasis given to it, when the ultimate answer was clear before the story even began. The “Anomaly” Files either implied or guaranteed that.

Due to this, the plot unravelled with a veil of vagueness and confusion, that unfortunately for me, let this down. I found myself repeatedly reading pages whereby the end of the chapters, I was saying to myself, “wait, what’re you [the author] trying to say here?”
It just wasn’t clear enough. It reads like trying to see through fogged up glasses – you can’t get a sense of what’s in front of you.

I felt this issue was due to a conflicting approach in how the story was told. It’s narrated through a lense of “science answers all”, but the story that’s attempting to be pulled off wants to say “no it doesn’t, at least not yet!”… I found the back and forth of indecision muddled the impact of the storytelling.

And in saying all this… I still enjoyed it. Granted, not as much as The Anomaly, but it definitely delivered a puzzling but likeable plot that engaged my mind for the majority of the story. Reading both of Rutger’s books is like trying to fathom the unfathomable – which is interesting and fun. I was fully invested in seeing where everything that happened was going… and of course, rooting for all the characters. I genuinely struggled with deciding what to rate this. I would like the series to continue and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for what’s coming next.

 

Buy It Now

 

The Possession by Michael Rutger
Published July 2019
Genre: mystery, sci-fi

 

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