It’s been quite a while since I reviewed Irish indie author Aidan J. Reid’s mystery novel Sigil. The book introduced Father Tom Regan, a Catholic Priest with a nose for mysteries, and particularly the bizarre.
Yage is the second in the “Tom Regan Thriller” series, and this time, Reid takes it up a notch.
Based on his own drug use experiences under somewhat similar circumstances, Reid takes Father Regan to Peru, ostensibly to meet his young niece Louise, who has been hiking throughout the Peruvian region, but also to process his own crisis of faith, particularly in light of the conclusion of the Sigil ordeal.
What Regan finds is a mystery he didn’t ask for and one that puts the life of his niece at risk. Slowly putting the clues together, he finds that Louise is only one of a number of victims of a mysterious shaman, who is somehow tied to the Yage tourist trade, people from western nations who pay local companies to administer and monitor their use of a hallucinogen for a variety of personal purposes. Tom himself must undergo this challenge in his desperate efforts to find his missing niece. Along the way, he finds unlikely allies in the form of a local priest, other tourists, and another young woman he must use, and put at risk, in order to discover what happened to Louise.
I’ve read and reviewed a number of Aidan’s novels and short stories over the past several years, and they have all been good but not necessarily great. This time however, I feel he’s hit one out of the ballpark, not only in how the author leveraged his own life experience to craft this tale, but in depicting both Tom Regan’s outer struggles and his inner demons. The final decision he makes is, to put it mildly, chilling.
Reid promises another Regan novel in the near future. After Yage, it will be interesting to see what happens to Tom next.