Book Review: The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck

The Witch Hunter by Max Seeck

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

TW: Sexual Abuse/Rape

The premise, pacing, and atmosphere of this book were all excellent. I was hooked enough by the plot to read it in two days, so that’s saying something.

The twisty threads of the crime portion of this book were quite well done, but I rated it a 3 (I likely would’ve gone 2.5 if Goodreads did 1/2 stars) because there were parts that jerked me completely out of the story. The crimes themselves are just short enough on detail (not gory detail, mind you, but details at all) to make me less than fully vested in what is clearly supposed to be shocking.

The interactions between the main character and her cop colleagues are weirdly out of tune: there’s no reason given for them to not believe her or to doubt her abilities. Maybe there’s supposed to be, but since nothing is given to the reader it seems like a senior officer is getting sniggered at for no reason, and blown off when her instincts and track record made her lead investigator on a multiple-homicide. It detracted from the story.

Also, I’m THOROUGHLY tired of male writers putting in a rape scene and insisting women orgasm during a rough and forced interaction (particularly when the scene is only penetration), even if the character doesn’t resist. I actually nearly put the book down in that scene (chapter 39, if you need a trigger warning): it was completely unnecessary to her character development, the applicable sub-plot, or the main plot, which makes it gratuitous. Also, it’s a GROSSLY incorrect portrayal of how women work physically or emotionally, even in an abusive relationship. This subplot ruined the book for me: relying on “she’s tough because she was raped/abused” is old and overdone. She has an interesting and already traumatic backstory without falling back on the stereotypical route.

I think the author managed a bunch of complicated plot twists and side character details really well. The conclusion was satisfying and well written, and it’s definitely set up well for a series if he goes that route. I actually think this could be a great tv series in the same genre as “Bordertown” or “Valhalla Murders”, I’m just disappointed about the abuse trope.

View all my reviews

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