"Inheritance" Book Review
Written by Joe McKinney
2012, 354 pages, Fiction
Released on October 18th, 2012
I've said it before and I'll say it again: no one mixes police procedural and horror quite like Joe McKinney. He's been doing it for a while, but with Inheritance he has set a new standard for anyone attempting to mix those two genres. The novel contains enough darkness, blood, and things from beyond the grave to work as a horror story and packs enough guns, drugs, flashing lights, and violence to satisfy fans of gritty thrillers.
Paul Henninger is a rookie cop trying to learn the job as quickly as possible while dealing with everything San Antonio's East Side has to throw at him. However, the violent gangs and rampant drug problems are just the tip of the iceberg. Paul is also haunted by his past, and the haunting has just become a threat to his daily existence. Martin Henninger, Paul's father, has come from beyond the grave to make sure his son accepts the dark supernatural powers that were meant for him and that he's supposed to use. However, the old man's ghost is not simply looking for his son: he's busy leaving a trail of blood and destruction. The cult-style killings become the top priority for the police, and since Paul was pursuing one of the victims when he was brutally murdered, he joins the list of folks the force is keeping an eye on. Keith Anderson, San Antonio's best homicide detective, knows there's something Paul is not telling him and begins looking into his past. Unfortunately, the darkest thing about that past is eviscerating people in the present.
One thing that usually makes horror/crime novels a bit weak is the fact that authors pussyfoot around and never fully engage with the two genres at once. McKinney is a different animal. The man holds a genre in each hand and swings them around like 10-pound sledgehammers. The police procedural side shows us what it's like to be a rookie cop and brings to the table high speed chases, investigations, dealing with the media, gang violence, and bodies being slammed against the sidewalk so that the drugs they were hiding in their mouths coming flying out. On the horror side, the author balances things out with plenty of gloomy vignettes from the past, dark supernatural forces, a slew of dead mutilated bodies, disemboweled goats, and fear for what the future could bring if Paul can't get out of his very peculiar situation.
McKinney has the experience needed to write convincingly about what happens during a police investigation. When you mix that with his straightforward prose, a lot of blood, and black magic, the result is an entertaining horror thriller that goes by really fast despite coming in a bit over 350 pages. McKinney is the real deal, and Inheritance might be his best thriller to date.