Friends of the Dusk by Phil Rickman

Friends of the Dusk by Phil Rickman is the 13th book in the Merrily Watkins series. This is a mystery series in the style of a police procedural or mystery novel but with an exorcist instead of some kind of detective as the protagonist.

If you haven’t read any of the series I’d highly recommend that you start from the beginning, while I’m sure the books are still enjoyable on their own, the characters and their arcs do grow through the series which makes for better context.

Merrily’s position in the dioceses, both as an exorcist as a minister, is in danger a new bishop, Craig Innes, looks to set his mark by dragging the church into the 21st century by getting rid of one of its oldest services, the deliverance ministry.

Ordered not to perform any deliverance duties without consulting with the non-believing bishop, Merrily is contacted by a local muslim, businessman Rajab Kahn to help his friend Adam Malik who is being plagued by something so dark that even his own Imam is unwilling to face. With her job in jeopardy and her morals unwilling to let anyone suffer at the hand of darkness, can Merrily save  Adam and his family?

The Characters

In this instalment we are rejoined by all the characters that we have come to love throughout the years, including Jane, Lol, Gomer and Frannie.

While Merrily is the star of the show, she is well supported by a rich and diverse cast of characters that help to build her world. As with all the other books in this series Rickman ensures that these characters are present and necessary players, each one brings something to the table and impacts  on the storyline.

What I Loved

I love how well the supernatural is built into the Merrily Watkins series, Rickman has an unparalleled talent is making the supernatural and the ordinary co-mingle in a world that seems completely possible.

I loved this book, but if I’m honest I love most of Phil Rickman’s books, I have never found another author who writes anything similar.

What I did not like

There wasn’t anything that i did not like but i could have done with even more spookiness.

Excerpt from Friends of the Dusk

‘Lol is also finally coming home. Been touring all summer, for the first time in years, then he was asked to do some studio work. Good for his self-esteem.’ Miss White pondered this. ‘He’s never been frightened of me. Odd, that.’ ‘Unlike me, huh?’ ‘I love the way you come here simply because you are frightened.’ ‘Oh, come—’ Merrily leaned back then had to steady herself on the piano stool. Miss White raised her eyes ‘Come on, then, little clergyperson. Out with it. Don’t be annoying.’ ‘I’m sorry?’ ‘Thinking of packing it in, are we?’

‘What?’ ‘Snipping off the dog collar? Depositing the cassock in the Oxfam bank in the vain hope it might reach some impoverished African priestess?’ The old woman seemed to be rearing in her chair, without moving; she could play tricks with your head. Wasn’t bloody dying at all, was she? Merrily coughed. ‘Makes you ask that?’ Miss White was smiling sweetly again, bending to the tray on the Victorian Gothic table between them to pour more tea. Then she stopped, looking up. ‘Oh, but I never thought…’ Putting down the teapot and leaning back to the side table, she pulled away the black velvet

cloth to reveal a small, rectangular cardboard box, with gold sides. On the top, it said: Ordo Templi Orientis Thoth Tarot Cards, Merrily had seen the pack before. Exquisitely painted by Lady Frieda Harris, designed by A. Crowley. ‘Would you like me to read for you, Watkins?’ The window rattled, and the first raindrops plopped on the glass. The impending high winds were supposed to be the residue of some Atlantic hurricane with a pretty name. ‘No, I would not,’ Merrily said.

Publisher: Corvus

Genre: Mystery

Best Part: The bits of supernatural history weaved into the story

Is it available on audio? Yes