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Publisher: Brown Posey Press (2018)

Philosophically sophisticated, the supernatural mystery of Dennis M Clausen’s The Accountant’s Apprentice is reminiscent of the classic apocalyptic comedy Good Omens while bringing its own unique and serious take on the fight against good and evil.

Justin Moore is a priest on leave after witnessing a murder in his parish office. He is haunted by the events and struggles with making sense of what happened and why the assailant spared him.

Living in a small rundown studio apartment, Justin makes ends meet by becoming the driver of a mysterious neighbor who calls himself A.C. and claims he is an accountant. But Justin quickly becomes suspicious of his new employer when he fails to find any information about A.C or his company. To make matters worse, Justin attracts the attention of local police after not one, but two neighbors die while living in the apartment across the hall from him.

As Justin investigates the strange events he is connected to, he begins to question his state of mind, unable to pinpoint the agenda and motives of his mysterious employer. Whenever Justin finds answers, several more questions appear as more and more people connected to him end up dead. In the end, Justin learns that there are forces at work above his understanding and that he has an important part to play in it all.

Dennis M Clausen is a masterful writer that creates a full and multi-faceted story in a relatively small package. In what starts out as a mystery with a spiritual backdrop, the plot quickly brings in philosophical questions about the good and evil of our capitalistic society and what effects artistic genius has on the world. There are also touches of the supernatural that come into play as Justin tries to make sense of the mysteries around him.

Clausen develops Justin Moore with a level of mystery to the character, who can arguably be seen as an unreliable narrator. Not much is known about Justin and his life before the traumatic incident he witnesses, and the details of that event change ever so slightly every time he goes back to those memories. These changes and other events cause Justin to question his reality and make him an interesting narrator. Even less is known about the characters A.C. and Ilsa, but they both undergo their own satisfying character development by the story’s end.

A compelling novel, The Accountant’s Apprentice, leaves many areas of the story unexplored and underdeveloped in a way, perhaps to maintain a mysterious atmosphere. Certainly, its effect will leave readers longing to know what happens next. Perhaps a sequel? (We hope!)

Clausen employs multi-genre storytelling here, and this approach makes the book a screaming success. In that complexity, there is a literary feast. It is spiritualistic, philosophical, supernatural, mysterious – and apocalyptic. In other words, this story has a charismatic appeal for everyone.