Let’s see – toss together angels, call girls, a cathedral “guet”, Nephilim and creepy disconnected “shadows” and you get…”The Watchers – first of the Angelus Trilogy” by Jon Steele.
A bit of a retelling of the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” going on here.
There are three main characters – the first (and most likeable) is Marc Rochat – the “guet” of the Cathedral of Lausanne. “Guet” is an old military term for “watcher” and it is Marc’s job to “call the hours” when the bells of the Cathedral ring at night. Every night, Marc climbs the 153 stairs to the top of the tower to call the hours (this is actually a real thing in Lausanne – every hour on the hour from 10pm to 2am, the Guet calls out to the four directions: C’est le guet; il a sonné l’heure “This is the nightwatch; the hour has struck”.)
The link to “Hunchback” is that Marc Rochat is slightly disabled and is somewhat “special” or “gifted” due to an “incident at birth”. He is the illegitimate scion of a very wealthy Swiss family and has been given the position of guet of the Cathedral of Lausanne as an honorable career. He takes his position very seriously and has long discussions with the Bells of the Cathedral .
Our second character is the somewhat mysterious private investigator Jay Harper – who has woken up in a room in Lausanne with no memory of what or where he was before. He is also quite a fan of the History Channel (take note – a bit of a plot point). He has been given a job investigating a case for the IOC . In the course of the investigation, some very grisly murders occur which may or may not be connected. And there is the issue of the mysterious shadows – which are not attached to anyone’s bodies and which may or may not be connected to the murders (but come on, of course they are!)
Finally we have Katherine Taylor, a very high priced call girl living in Lausanne and working for something called the “200 Club” which sounds like a sex club for the .01%. A bit shallow and fluffy, she is what you would expect from a girl who paid her way through college doing Playboy centerfolds.
Another similarity to “Hunchback” – Katherine lives close to the Cathedral and Marc, having seen her at a distance, thinks of her as the “angel”. He is a bit obsessed with her in a very sweet harmless way, so that when she needs “sanctuary”, he happily becomes her protector and hero.
Katherine, Jay and Marc are drawn into a grisly web of murder, ancient evil and ancient secrets hidden under the cathedral. We find out why the History Channel matters to Jay, what Jay really is, what the shadows are, what’s under the cathedral and what those creepy things really want with Katherine.
Part one of a trilogy –
So…. I really liked Marc. Jay was interesting. Katherine – meh – shallow, typical “hooker with heart of gold” oh please. The murders in the book are pretty grisly…which I could have passed on to be honest. Definitely an adult theme. No YA here kids. Still deciding if I want to invest in the rest of the trilogy.
The author clearly knows Switzerland and Lausanne very well. Every time I read the book I found I had the urge to clean my house so there is that.
A bit of a mashup of “Angels and Devils + DaVinci Code + Hunchback”.
Not the most original read on the planet but it was OK.