Ascending Darkness: 6 Stars for Audrey Brice

Ascending Darkness by Audrey BriceI felt like cheering when I came to the end of Ascending Darkness. I couldn’t remember when I’d been so thoroughly happy for a main character. Or, frankly, as envious of one! Without giving away any of Audrey Brice‘s plot secrets, I’ll admit that I would love to end up like Liz Tanner when and if I ever grow up—without the feminine attributes, thank you. She can leave behind her dry wit and handsome boyfriend, however. I wouldn’t mind having either of them!

Liz Tanner’s success is hard won. Book 1 of the Ordo Templi Serpentis Mysteries thrusts her into the limelight when a member of her occult order is accused of murder. Her responsibilities grow heavier with each novel in the series, as do the paranormal and criminal risks she encounters. Her boyfriend, Mike, and the world’s most cheerful Satanist, Alyssa, fight to keep her safe and sane, but Liz’s own powers continue to rise. Could it be her own darkness that hungers to ascend?

As a long time reader of Ellery Queen, Audrey Brice’s mysteries held up for me. I’d compare her writing to that of Lillian Jackson Braun and Ellis Peters in terms of gore and accuracy of research, respectively. Her dedication to factual accuracy makes sense since Brice also publishes occult literature under a different pen name. Thanks to her time as a professional magus, Brice’s satires the Pagan community’s behavior so well that I frequently have to smother laughter while reading her stories. Brava!

I only wish I could give Audrey Brice extra stars for often saying what I’m not courageous enough to blurt out.

As it is, Ascending Darkness is a five-star read. I cannot wait for Book Five: Illuminated Darkness!

Go here for a chronological listing of the Ordo Templi Serpentis Mysteries, including all novels and novellas. Keep your eyes out for Illuminating Darkness and follow all of Audrey Brice’s pen names at the Quadrant.

The portrait of Liz Tanner at the top of this review is based on an author photograph of Audrey Brice. It was drawn and digitally altered by William Briar, 2016.