Less the haunted house story I expected, and more a psychological study of loss and tragedy, Broken Sigil is a well-crafted thriller that manages to evoke an immediate and intense emotional reaction in the reader. William Meikle starts us off with what seems like a typical crime novella, complete with the stock jaded/damaged detective, a lonely, angry man who is an outsider even within the department.
Things start to get interesting when Joe arrives at a crime scene to find his ex-partner dead, shot by another cop. The story doesn't really begin to get under your skin, however, until the coroner points out the five-pointed star carved into the flesh of the dead man's stomach - a scar that dates back to the tragic accident that left both men broken and alone.
Once Joe returns to the scene of the crime, and starts talking with the odd inhabitants of the brownstone apartment, the story really begins to flow. It is a place of memories, a home to grief and longing, where whispers of the dead can be summoned almost close enough to touch. Of course, neither life nor death is ever that simple, and no detective could ever be content to simply accept the 'rules' as they're explained to him - and that's where the already dark tale of a Broken Sigil descends even deeper.Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins