Book Review // Unholy Bargain by Travis Holt

Unholy Bargain Book Cover Unholy Bargain
Travis Hallden Holt
Double Dragon Publishing
April 8, 2015
Paperback, Kindle, Nook, Kobo
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An assassin is at work—one of the best in the trade. His body turned to dust long ago, but his spirit roams the Earth freely, undetectable to the five senses. He stalks his victims waiting for just the right opportunity. Then, in quick succession, he possesses a human host and strikes down his quarry. For a century and a half he has served this way.

Deputy Sheriff Nate Barrington is riding the crest of a new relationship. Kaitlyn Spencer is beautiful, altruistic, enlightened—everything he's not. She teaches classes in New Age philosophy at her growing school. Nate doesn't share her spirituality, but the physical passion hasn't subsided enough for him to care.

Nate's nirvana quickly unravels when Kaitlyn's life is threatened on two separate occasions. With no apparent motive or any evidence suggesting collusion, the police are stumped. Even more troubling to Nate, Kaitlyn is eventually convinced she is the target of unseen forces.

A hardheaded pragmatist, Nate isn't prone to believe that spirits can possess people. As far as he's concerned, Kaitlyn's claims of perpetrators possessed by a spirit assassin are on par with comic book stories and have nothing to do with reality, and her esoteric, New Age mumbo jumbo begins to drive a wedge into their relationship. And why Kaitlyn? What secret is she hiding?

Even with the sheriff's resources at Nate's disposal, the odds for Kaitlyn's survival are not in her favor. The true enemy is virtually invisible, and Nate's conventional police tactics have no effect on the spirit world. Strikes come from anytime, anywhere, and from random, unwittingly manipulated people. Behind it all is a deal the assassin had made with the devil: send Kaitlyn Spencer to an early grave in exchange for a fresh start. For that, the assassin will stop at nothing to uphold his end of an Unholy Bargain.

Unholy Bargain by Travis Holt Banner

Recently, I took the opportunity to read Unholy Bargain by Travis Holt. I don’t usually search out supernatural thrillers as it generally is not a genre that I find myself diving into, but occasionally I will read within the genre to create a spark when I find other books are lagging expectation. I wanted that experience of falling into this story-line; I had both good and not-so-good moments.

My likes:
Supernatural didn’t dwell in the supernatural. Unholy Bargain is a supernatural thriller, but what I liked about the story is that it didn’t dwell in the supernatural. The story progresses to possession, but readers are not inundated with oddities.
Characters. Nate and Kaitlyn are lovebirds and their story allows true-love to show a hint of progression. I like that Kaitlyn loves to have a man in her life, but she is not a woman that needs a man in her life.

My dislikes:
Early flow disruption. My reading type is… grab me in the beginning of the book or forever lose my attention. The first two pages had me. I wanted to learn more about the Journeyman (interesting character, by the way), but when the pages transitioned to chapter 2, I couldn’t easily follow the reading. The text moved from an easy flow to a choppy discussion between the characters. The choppy takeaway that I experienced was really only within those first few pages of chapter 2, and my opinion is that it had much to do with the setting of that chapter. I didn’t find this flow to be constant within the book.
Character backstory. This is not so much a dislike as much as it leaves me wanting. The good thing about Unholy Bargain is that the story starts off quick at a specific time in the character’s lives and stays at a constant pace, but I think hurts us as readers because Nate and Kaitlyn’s story is so entwined we don’t learn a lot about the past to understand where they are at today.

Final thought: I did like the book, I just didn’t fall in love. Supernatural genre fans will enjoy it, and surprisingly, I do think readers that are not supernatural fans will find Unholy Bargain a good read. Like I said, it doesn’t dwell in supernatural. It leads more to thriller and suspense. I gave Unholy Bargain 3.5 stars; my online rating system rounds up giving the book 4 stars.

About the Author

Travis Hallden Holt is a former U.S. Navy surface warfare officer and veteran of the Persian Gulf War.

He’s worked the past twenty-two years in the corrections side o law enforcement, first in the prison system, then in the streets as a probation officer. He spent three years supervising felons in a south Atlanta neighborhood ranked the ninth most dangerous neighborhood in America, where one in every twelve residents becomes a victim of crime each year.

For years, his interests were in weaponry (both small arms and large scale), warfare tactics, hand-to-hand combat, criminal justice and unsolved crimes. But life has a way of molding perspectives, and Travis came to realize the physical world known to the five senses didn’t have all the answers. It scratched the surface at best. Accordingly, Travis’s interests shifted to supernatural phenomenon, spirituality, the mysteries of life, the invisible world beyond our five senses and the forces that lie therein. He’s still a peace officer, but one who has mingled with psychics, mystics, mediums, energy healers, shamans, gurus, artists and denizens of the “underground.”

Travis is the author of Unholy Bargain, a supernatural thriller published by Double Dragon Publishing. He resides in Atlanta, GA.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Enchanted Book Tours for an honest review. All opinions are my own.