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A Hole in the World
Book 1 of Preacher's Daughter Saves the World

by Weston Ochse

Reviewed by Galen Strickland
Posted November 13, 2021

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Ochse teased the return of Laurie "Lore" May (call sign Preacher's Daughter) at the end of Dead Sky, as she considered joining the black-ops team Special Unit 77. I'm assuming this is the beginning of another series, since everywhere I've checked it's identified as Book 1 of "Preacher's Daughter Saves the World," although I have not seen info on a second title yet. Neither the author's website or blog have been updated with any mention of this title yet, much less any potential sequels. It has been two years since I read the previous adventure so my memory is a bit vague. I know some of her team were killed, but even she is not sure about the fate of team leader Bryan Starling (call sign Boy Scout). She is working with Unit 77, and one of her missions ends with the death of one of her squad and the crippling of another. Before she can process that and analyze what she did wrong, she is given another assignment.

The prologue introduced Francis Scott Key Catches the Enemy, a resident of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. He is puzzled why no one else remembers a nearby town, which they should since many work or live there. Or did work or live there. Now that town is inaccessible, and Francis doesn't know why he is the only one that remembers it. When told of this incident, Preacher's Daughter assumes that is where she is going next, but she is instead assigned to assist a British special-ops team, The Black Dragoons, to investigate a UK town that has disappeared. A British soldier is swapped for her and sent to South Dakota. She had grown accustomed to independent action with her previous team, but now has to adjust to the more rigid chain of command of the British group. She becomes increasingly frustrated when she realizes tactical information is being withheld from her. That doesn't change until it becomes apparent she has an affinity for dealing with the supernatural spirits at the heart of their dilemma. It is possible that is due to the experiences she had in Afghanistan interacting with Zoroastrian dieties.

The forces they are confronted with are Fae, both seelie and unseelie. The former are supposedly the good, benign spirits such as pixies, sprites, fairies, and gnomes, with the latter the "evil" ones; goblins, hobs, bockle, and boggarts, along with the Marrow, the shock troops paving the way for the return of the Formori from the sea. Their intention is to kill all the dryads that protect the forests. Preacher's Daughter eventually learns at least a couple of unseelie are opposed to this, and that one seelie in particular is not opposing it, but rather retreating from the incursion. Maeve, Queen of the Fae, is responsible for the hole in the world that connects the two "disappeared" towns, which has enabled her to move some of the younger dryads to the US. The two unseelies that become Preacher's Daughter's allies had become fond of humans when they lived for many years in a house where the residents watched a lot of TV. They liked a particular American show from the '80s, so much so that they insisted being called Crockett and Tubbs. A bit of humor thrown into the otherwise fraught situation. Other fae that Preacher's Daughter was successful in dealing with include a centaur, and the Green Man, who had been imprisoned in the dungeons of Warwick Castle for many years, but who she was able to help escape to aid in their cause.

Lots of action, some of it repetitive, and that's also the case with some of the exposition. That was a minor criticism I had about Dead Sky too, where Preacher's Daughter or others repeated things almost verbatim at least twice through the book. Weston needs to trust his readers more. I'm sure many of them are familiar with military terms and weapons, but while some of us aren't, we can still understand things through context. We don't have to have everything explained in detail. Another example of superfluous exposition: why did he think it necessary to tell us the British word for gasoline is petrol? Aside from these complaints, I enjoyed the book for the action and the character development, and look forward to more adventures with Preacher's Daughter. What supernatural entities will she encounter next?


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Weston Ochse

October 26, 2021

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