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Vigilante Witch Hunter: 06/28/09
Vigilante Witch Hunter by Gary Turcotte is a follow up to Memoirs of a Fortune Teller, a much tighter story coming in at novella length. This new book follows the daughter of the previous book's protagonist.
Melissa has inherited her mother's powers but hasn't taken up the profession of fortune telling. She for reasons never adequately explained helps a vigilante track down bad people. He then kills them in ways that can't be traced back to them. Stephen's cold hearted murders and Melissa's complete and blind following of him sets a very disturbing tone for the book especially when Melissa is otherwise acting like a bubble-headed chick lit heroine.
But the plot isn't really about Melissa and Steven taking out people. Instead it's sort of a romance with a paranormal twist. Melissa ends up falling in love for a financial planner who is devilishly handsome and seems to have the same powers she does. Thus begins the second third of the novel which comes in the form of an awkwardly paced and unbelievable romance that only gets worse when the mob is introduced.
Melissa's fortune telling powers come with limitations and these rules could have been interesting things to explore in the book. Rule number one is that a fortune teller can't read another fortune teller's fortune; it will come up blank. A blank fortune can either mean an imminent death or a fortune teller and it's not always easy to tell which is which one first reading. Finally, a fortune showing death can't be avoided. It might be altered to be less painful but it can't be stopped.
The rule about death, while well played in Karen's death early on in the book is later brought back for unfortunately executed melodrama. With the fate of death being so immutable it seems that Melissa is far to happy to just go through the dot-to-dot picture life has set up for her. I would have liked her to question things more.
If you want to read similarly themed novels, I recommend two Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett: Mort (1987) and Soul Music (1994).