Desert Isle Keeper
Preacher, Prophet, Beast
Preacher, Prophet, Beast is the seventh in Harper Fox’s wonderful Tyack and Frayne series of mysteries set in Cornwall, and it may be the best – or is it? Every time I finish a book in this series I say, ‘Oh, that was the best one’. I suspect every reader will have their favourite.
We find Gideon, husband Lee and baby Tamsin – now a toddler of two – living in the large rambling house Chy Lowen, thought to mean ‘House of Joy’ in Cornish. Gideon is struggling with his promotion to Detective Sergeant in the local CID in Truro, which doesn’t sit comfortably with him as it’s taken him away from his old uniformed beat in their home village of Dark. Lee is having problems of the more esoteric variety as he sees dangers from the past and present; but now the present dangers have blank faces, masks that Lee cannot see through.
The story is disturbing from the off, as Harper Fox’s beautiful, evocative descriptions of the powerfully magic moors deliberately strikes a discordant note. Tamsin reveals her powerful psychokinetic skills during a Tyack and Frayne family picnic and Gideon is falling ill. Mysteriously eaten up by a beastly fever that seems to be changing him from the inside, even his beloved Lee is unable to tell what is happening to him.
Part of the feeling of disquiet comes from the fact that these two wonderful men are keeping their thoughts from each other. Suddenly, this solid loving pair who can save all and right all wrongs, are slightly separate and out of tune with each other. The story, as it reveals itself bit by bit, is ancient and modern. There is a Pride march that may be in danger, and a dangerous, sick criminal from a previous episode who has been released from prison and is seen locally. Family dynamics are changing and something is gathering power and will run riot through Gideon and Lee’s world and beyond.
To truly enjoy the wondrous nature of this story you do have to read the whole series. They are short books and lovely stories in themselves, but they are meant to be episodes in the lives of Gideon and Lee. These two have the strongest and purest love story of any series I have read. Their human adventures are not paranormal, they are stories of the magic and power in the very normal natural world around us.
With baby Tamsin’s powers now revealed to the wider family, Gideon ill and acting out of character, a threat to the coming LGBTQ+ Pride parade and Lee’s powers seemingly confusing rather than helping; there is a lot for the Tyack-Frayne family to contend with. However, whatever the universe throws at them Gideon and Lee will always have each other, won’t they?
I loved every word crafted by this author in Preacher, Prophet, Beast. I cried and I laughed and I worried, because Harper Fox made me care so much for these characters, every single one. If you haven’t read the series, treat yourself; and if you have, indulge yourself and enjoy this latest installment.