The Blood Singer by Patrick Mcnulty is a supernatural horror novella, a child of the Ministry of Wrath series. The Ministry is a unique, secret organization that dispatches supernatural entities to fight evil. Hayden Church, a member of the Ministry’s supernatural army, is a reaper, an individual who can resurrect and inhabit dead bodies, so he can battle evil—undercover. The tale begins with a heart-breaking glimpse into Church’s childhood, then rockets right into a quest to save the life of a child. His time is limited, so he must move quickly. Wearing the skin of the child’s grandmother, Church has no other option but to go to the blood singer to gain the information he needs to complete his desperate mission.
The characters in this novella are very well drawn. With an economy of words, Mcnulty manages to create characters that are clear, believable, and for the most part likable. The main character Hayden Church is brave, driven, noble, and charming. He is willing to put his life on the line to save an innocent, all the while preserving a droll sense of humor. Church could be considered similar to the beloved Odd Thomas from the Dean Koontz series. Church’s handler, a wraith named Moses, offers support and companionship. The child’s mother is real, believable, and worthy.
The plot is original, tight, and flies leaving no time for boredom. However, some readers might wish for a longer work that would allow time for subplots and glimpses into Church’s backstory. Readers will no doubt wish to see into Church’s mind to learn who he is as a person, not just as a reaper. As it stands, the adult Church is a cypher, and many readers will be sorry to see this striking tale end so quickly.
Mcnulty’s prose reveals intense visual messaging and strong writing skills. His word choices are concise, and his phrasing is beautiful. His metaphors, visual imagery, and descriptions make the settings and action easy to see. Perhaps his strongest point is his ability to portray emotions and feelings via physical symptoms and actions, not through tell. The Blood Singer is a pleasure to read. The only minor flaw one can mention is the tale’s brevity. Church and the Ministry are so appealing that the ending comes far too soon.
The Blood Singer may not be the first choice for hard-core horror fans who insist on more depth. However, for readers who enjoy skillfully crafted fiction or are simply looking for a burst of scary fun will love this delightful tale of supernatural action.
Patrick Mcnulty is a writer of great potential who deserves watching and will no doubt go on to great literary achievements.
The Blood Singer is highly recommended.