Reviewed by Joelene Pynnonen

Evil lurks in the most beautiful places.

When two young men die in mysterious circumstances on Maria Island, parapsychologist Zack Bolder and his partner Detective Wellock are sent to investigate. It soon becomes apparent that the young men had tried to connect with the supernatural world. Maria Island, with a reputation for unexplained and violent deaths, might have seemed the perfect place for the ghost-hunting attempt, but the island has its share of buried secrets…and bodies. 

Now it seems that whatever evil has been lurking patiently on the island is gaining strength. In a short space of time, a school boy goes mad with terror and the ghost of a long dead island resident reappears. To Bolder it’s clear that a demon is on the island, and if he doesn’t stop it, the body count is going to rise. 

Bolder Ultimate Cause is the fourth book in the Zack Bolder Supernatural Series. While this is first and foremost a paranormal horror novel, it also leans into historical fiction and mystery. Like the other books in the series, it can be read in order or on its own. 

As always, the setting and history behind the place is what Janice Tremayne thrives in. Maria Island looks perfect on the surface. A beautiful National Park off the coast of Tasmania. The dark history behind it makes it the ideal setting for a horror novel. Like all of Tremayne’s novels, fact is interwoven with fiction here. Maria Island has a rich history as a penal colony and a mining location. Rosa Adkins’ ghost is a figure that people have reported seeing. On reading any of the Bolder books, half the enjoyment is in finding out more about the places they are set.

While the historical setting lends a lot of atmosphere to the story, the worldbuilding around demonic lore is what solidifies it. There are some truly creepy scenes in here. The fact that they are set in genuine places and based around real local myths makes them even scarier somehow.

Bolder Ultimate Cause is as enjoyable as a standalone as the previous book in the series, Bolder Blindsided. The main issue with it is that the story hasn’t grown much beyond what’s happened between Blindsided and Ultimate Cause. The arsenal Bolder has is the same. His character is unchanged. The demons are no stronger or scarier, and the stakes are no higher. The potential in Bolder’s world, job, and character is vast, but I do believe that the potential has yet to be fully realized.

The Bolder series continues to be a truly worthwhile addition to the paranormal horror genre. Unique and rich settings along with original characters make for some refreshing reading. 

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Supernatural Thriller

Print Length: 251 pages

ISBN: 978-0648961574


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