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Relentless Melt


Relentless Melt

I confess to not being familiar with Jeremy P. Bushnell or his prior work, but the description of his latest novel was so interesting that I was immediately drawn to it. I have a penchant for good horror, supernaturally based tales that have more going on than just blood and guts. To say that this book met that need would be an understatement. RELENTLESS MELT is horror with a healthy dose of historical and speculative fiction thrown in for good measure.

The year is 1909, and the setting is Boston. But this is not the same Boston we know, and it’s this original take that makes the book so dynamic. When we meet Artie Quick, she is at the YMCA's Evening Institute for Younger Men studying Criminal Investigation. Her teacher, Professor Winchell, is a top-notch detective whom she respects. After class, he makes her aware that he knows she’s a woman posing as a man for the sake of blending into the course, but he allows her to stay.

"Expertly crafted by Bushnell, this relentless read creates some great chills and unforgettable plot twists that show off his talents in the best of ways."

We then see Artie in her day job as a sales clerk at the legendary Filene’s Department Store in the heart of Boston. She puts her recently acquired detection skills to good use by being extra alert and studying her customers closely. Theodore, her best friend and fellow misfit, comes into the store and tells her about a potential mystery they can investigate involving a scream that was reported at a local park.

Little do Artie and Theodore know that this scream is just a small piece in a much larger puzzle in which they are about to become embroiled. During their self-run investigation, they are attacked by a man brandishing a knife who they find accosting a young woman. They have no idea what kind of danger they’re getting themselves into. It gets so serious, in fact, that Artie reaches out to Professor Winchell and persuades him to help them in their Scooby-Doo adventure, which is now starting to resemble a tale penned by Edgar Allan Poe.

Theodore fancies himself a novice magician, and this is where the otherworldly version of Boston comes into play. The city is beset by powerful magicians, both good and evil. When Theodore’s mentor turns up at a suspicious location in an alley where they’re investigating the disappearances of young ladies, the connection is made. Why is this master magician at a place populated with elderly and infirm women surrounded by a handful of nurses? It’s akin to a sort of weird hospice. That’s the conundrum for our junior sleuth and her magical friend. The answer, once uncovered, is a thing of brilliance.

In RELENTLESS MELT, you will find murder, dark magic and an evil presence beneath the streets of Boston that threatens the life of every inhabitant living on the surface. Expertly crafted by Bushnell, this relentless read creates some great chills and unforgettable plot twists that show off his talents in the best of ways.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on June 17, 2023

Relentless Melt
by Jeremy P. Bushnell