Chicago: The Windigo City by Mark Everett Stone

Chicago: The Windigo City book cover
Rating 8.5/10
The stories along with the characters have gone from strength to strength.

Kal Hakala is the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation’s best agent, but even he needs a break after his last case, which brought him a hair’s breadth from death and killed the fiancée of his best friend, a Mescalero Apache agent named Canton Asate. Kal’s temporary desk-job is nothing less than leadership of the entire BSI. Now it is on his head to assemble teams of agents to fight the latest Supernatural incursions and man up if they fail.

Windigo spirits in Chicago are possessing human beings and transforming them into ravenous cannibals. Canton is the natural choice for a team leader because of his knowledge of Native American lore. Is Canton, a legend with a knife, ready to strike again, so soon after his fiancée’s death? What about Kal’s own girlfriend, Jeanie? Can he stand to put her in danger and beyond his protection? Kal is forced to use the BSI’s cutting-edge virtual reality system to see what makes them both tick. Will the experience of virtually living their lives afford him the will to send those he loves into danger? Can an emotionally damaged man who has never led a team and a woman who travelled through time from the 1940s make the cut? For Kal, the choice isn’t easy, but for the other two, it could be deadly.

This is the 4th book in the files of the BSI series; these should ideally be read in order starting with Things to do in Denver when you’re Un-dead. Please note to read further may give plot spoilers for the previous 3 books.

As you hopefully now know, taking into account the previous paragraph, there is both our world and the world under, which is full of supernaturals hoping to cause havoc in the world above. The BSI (Bureau of Supernatural Investigation) is the last line of defence, putting their lives on the line to save the world (or sometimes just America) time and time again without regular people knowing.

The BSI stories generally tell the story of Kal Hakala, who is a 10 year veteran of the BSI, which is in itself unusual as most BSI agent’s contracts are only for 2 years. Kal himself has grown considerably over the last 3 books, where has had defeated many nefarious plans to destroy humanity. This book, although still a novel from the BSI files and still involving Kal, brings to the forefront one of the series strongest supporting characters, Canton Asate, Kal’s best friend. This is an interesting concept as in series like these we generally do not get to focus on anyone but the lead character for more than a chapter or two.

This doesn’t mean that Kal doesn’t feature in this book, in fact the book starts and finishes with him, but after the events of I left my Haunt in San Francisco, he has been given a different job. We are given more history into how Canton Asate became the warrior he now is. And as well as Canton we are also reintroduced to Jeanie, Kal’s girlfriend from the past, who is a formidable magician we first met in What happens in Vegas, dies in Vegas, and she is now given a more rounded character with more of her back story filled in.

The book is split almost into two sections, the first is almost a getting to know everyone with lots of character-building which makes these characters more realistic as we get to find out more of their motivations for doing what they do. The second part is the actual case that Canton and Jeanie are working to solve, this doesn’t mean that the pace of the story ever feels like it slows, but the exposition was needed as Kal has grown and not only allowed others into his life, but realised that he needs them, which means we as the reader needed to know why these people should be valued as more than filler.

These books have a lot of death and violence in them and it is good to be invested in more than one character. I am looking forward to seeing where Mark Everett Stone will take these characters in future novels as the stories along with the characters have gone from strength to strength and I hope that this continues.

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