The Bottom Line: Lincoln Child fans will enjoy this enthralling tale of a pragmatic lawman trying to solve a case of demonic possession.
Deputy Sheriff Nate Barrington spends most days working as an undercover narc. Having dealt with a lifetime of criminals and thugs, his life revolves around intimidation, force and the collection of tangible evidence.
Nate thinks he’s heard it all until he starts dating Kaitlyn Spencer, who teaches “the invisible side of life” at the White Dove School of Enlightenment and Ascension. Given that Kaitlyn doesn’t feel comfortable discussing her psychic powers with Nate, it’s not immediately clear what she sees in him. But opposites do attract, and when Kaitlyn ends up in the hospital after what appears to be an intentional hit and run, Nate vows to protect her.
Enter Michael Tabscott, one of Kaitlyn’s students. Nate doesn’t like Michael from the start, describing him as a psychotic “twerp with an overly-obsessive fascination” with Kaitlyn (we’ve all known guys like Nate, and he’s drawn perfectly, right down to the dialogue). But Michael also has psychic gifts, and he seems to know things he shouldn’t. It’s Michael, in fact, who breaks the news to Sheriff Barrington that Kaitlyn is pregnant with Nate’s child.
Despite that world-rocking revelation, Michael doesn’t have much credibility. In the past, he was involuntarily detained for mental evaluation. And he always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which only serves to fuel Nate’s suspicions. He also doesn’t do much to endear himself to Nate. His relationship advice regarding Kaitlyn is as follows: “Can’t keep her on a leash, man. Sooner or later she’s bound to drop you for someone with class.”
It soon becomes evident that whatever is threatening Kaitlyn’s life is beyond Nate’s realm of experience. He even visits a priest for advice on demonic possession. To say more would spoil the fun, but it’s Nate’s transition from a skeptic to a believer that makes Unholy Bargain such a satisfying read.
If you go for paranormal thrillers in the style of Lincoln Child, Unholy Bargain should be your next book.