OFFERING TO THE STORM by Dolores Redondo

The final book in Spanish writer Dolores Redondo’s atmospheric Baztan trilogy, featuring Inspector Amaia Salazar.

It begins with a murdered child. It ends in a valley where nightmares are born.
When Detective Inspector Amaia Salazar is called in to investigate the death of a baby girl, she finds a suspicious mark across the child’s face – an ominous sign that points to murder.

The baby’s father was caught trying to run away with the body, whether from guilt or grief nobody can be sure. And when the girl’s grandmother tells the police that the ‘Inguma’ was responsible – an evil demon of Basque mythology that kills people in their sleep – Amaia is forced to return to the Baztán valley for answers.

Back where it all began, in the depths of a blizzard, she comes face to face with a ghost from her past. And finally uncovers a devastating truth that has ravaged the valley for years.

This is the kind of book reviewers tend to call ‘atmospheric’, which is another word for creepy and paranormal-ish.  The mystery continues from the first two novels in the series, with creepy added upon creepy.  I found it an interesting intertwining of disturbing, folklore apologia, marital relationship issues,  and a strange insistence on how much she adored and was cemented to her child while at the same time never being home and leaving him, sometimes for days at a time, in the care of her husband and/or elderly aunt.   The story line is filled with demented people:  her mother, a psychologist, some whacked out spouses who all have babies who died crib deaths, and which storyline relies heavily on satanic rituals.

In the end, my conclusion is that the series cannot quite decide whether to be a psychological look at disfunctionality, or a detective mystery, and so decides to mush them together.  You will have to decide for yourself if you think it works.

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