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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Phantom of the Catacombs: A Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thriller, Book 5 is a paranormal fantasy novel for young and new adults written by J.B. Michaels. Bud’s grandfather, Kenneth Hutchins, had been his mentor, inspiration, and friend as Bud was growing up; he was the one person who understood bud. Teleporting to Castle McDougall to try to rescue his grandfather was an automatic and instinctive move for Bud. Tragically, Kenneth’s injuries were too severe, leaving Bud the hard task of bringing his body home and informing his parents of their loss. Ivy Zheng also returned from that rescue mission forever changed -- by a vampire bite. The thirst she struggled so mightily to resist could only be assuaged by stolen packets of blood from the hospital’s blood bank; though she did increasingly ponder how much better fresh blood might be. Her primary concern, however, was for her father, whose atypically affectionate response during their last phone call raised her suspicions that something was drastically wrong. Those suspicions proved all-too-accurate when she discovered her father’s battered and unconscious body in his home. The doctors at the hospital could fix his broken leg but had been unable to discover why he remained in a comatose state.
Phantom of the Catacombs continues the chronicles of the newest members of the Order of St. Michael in an intense and fast-paced manner. The author begins this work with a compact chronology of the series, which is quite helpful for readers who’ve been following the series get back into the swing of the story. That said, the Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thrillers should be read in order to get the full effect of this dynamic and compelling urban fantasy which will appeal to urban fantasy readers of all ages. Michaels puts a lot of effort into making his characters come alive in his stories, and Phantom of the Catacombs is no exception to that. He continues to weave a rich tapestry of history regarding the Order, and I especially appreciated the World War II story Cardinal Riggio shares with Bud and Maeve. Michaels’ plot is tidy and intricate, and his writing style makes this adventure thriller a joy to read. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. Phantom of the Catacombs: A Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thriller, Book 5 is most highly recommended.