The Twisted Library — June 8, 2017 at 11:10 am

The Genie Hunt Puts A Supernatural Twist On The Usual Mystery Novel



I took one look at the cover of The Genie Hunt by M.C. Tuggle and decided I was going to start reading it during the day, when it was nice and bright out. I’m not necessarily easily spooked, but the front of this novella features demonic and angry yellow eyes so I opted out of opening it up for the first time during the night. Just to be safe.

The beginning of the book seems normal enough: two old friends (Buddy and Coot), heading off on a fishing trip together. But then the narrator, Buddy, mentions in his internal monologue that “It was going to be like old times. No work. No rules. No schedules. Best of all, no ghosts or witches or swamp devils to battle. But first we had to get out of town.” It was that line that solidified my preconceived notion that this novella may be a little bit on the scary side.

From that point forward, all bets are off. Coot makes an illegal right turn and, out of seemingly no where, multiple cop cars pull up, including the SWAT team, flashing lights, sirens, the whole deal. And with that, M.C. Tuggle grabs the readers’ hands and pulls us into what becomes a fast-paced, mysterious adventure.

As it turns out, Coot is being accused of a serious armed robbery, with multiple eye-witnesses, though he swears he knows nothing about it. Buddy happens to be a lawyer, so, of course, he is going to take on his pal’s case. Things get more and more complicated as friends of both Buddy and Coot come forward saying they saw him at the scene of the crime. That, coupled with the fact that there is over an hour of time where Coot is not really too sure what he was doing, makes it a very challenging case for Buddy. Not to mention, Coot has a history of past drug abuse problems and black-outs.

I appreciated how Tuggle illustrates the intrinsic struggle for Buddy in regards to believing his best friend’s word versus looking at the facts presented, combined with Coot’s personal record. It causes Buddy great guilt to even consider the possibility that Coot may have, in fact, really committed this crime, whether conscious of it or not. Many people go through this psychological battle when faced with these types of circumstances, especially if it involves a close friend who has a history of substance abuse issues. I empathized with Buddy almost immediately.

A few more pages in, and the aforementioned hints of paranormal activity are justified. Without giving away too much, Buddy discovers that Coot is being set up not only by an old acquaintance with a grudge, but also by an entity that is not entirely from this realm, with powers beyond anything of which humans are capable. As you can imagine, this does not make the two friends’ situation any better or easier to handle.

The author does a great job at combining real-life scenarios with elements of fantasy. The novella reads like a combination of the television shows “Law & Order” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The writing and content made it so I never knew what to expect; with each turn of the page came a new surprise and boy, does that make for fun reading. It was not at all a “horror” book, but rather a suspenseful mystery with a healthy dose of the supernatural.

I also enjoyed how Tuggle maintains the strong friendship between Buddy and Coot, even though the events in their lives seem to keep going from bad to worse. Even though everything happening could tear them apart, their bond never breaks. They remain loyal to one another and even are able to joke around and make the best of what is surely a terrible situation. I found myself endeared by their friendship, and I was rooting for them the entire time.

This was not my first M.C. Tuggle book–I reviewed a novella of his called “Aztec Midnight” sometime last year–so I knew there was going to be more to the story than what initially met my eye, but even I was surprised at the extent of the uniqueness and creativity which flowed from the beginning of the book to the very last page. I can confidently say I have never read anything like “The Genie Hunt” before, and I am looking forward to what Tuggle comes up with next.

Twisted Talk: Are you a fan of novellas? Do you like supernatural mysteries? Discuss below!

One Comment

  1. Sounds genre-busting and principled.

    Thank you for this review.

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