Solstice Goat

Knowing Patricia was hired to investigate the disappearance of a young married couple, her friend Detective Mike Atwell calls when a body is found in a copse just off the beach. A young man is seated in a chair made from broken tree branches, his naked body covered with pagan symbols and dead from a stab wound to the heart. Not far away, Patricia notices a tall man and realizes she’s met him before — he’s Tempest Michaels, owner of the Blue Moon Investigation Agency. She rents his former office space across the street and they previously bonded over owning dachshunds.

Now, approaching the crime scene, he admits an interest in the case — a year earlier, he was hired to find two missing women, but their bodies turned up in similar condition. He hasn’t been able to forget them, and the two decide to work together, although Patricia’s new client will take precedence.

It’s clear to Mike, as well as forensic experts Steven and Simon, that the victim was ritualistically murdered. With help from bookshop owner Frank, Tempest and Patricia are soon scoping out an abandoned industrial plant, where an occult group prepares to sacrifice a young woman — halted, of course, by the timely arrival of what appears to be a floodlight-equipped police helicopter with a bellowing Mike on the horn, followed by Patricia driving a participant’s pricey BMV into an empty drainage pool. However, the police threat is just a ruse to intimidate the cultists, comprised of a crew headed by the ever-resourceful Jermaine, and the cult members vanish into the night before the arrival of DI Quinn and the newly-installed Chief Constable for Kent, Albert Brady. The latter is so infuriated by the botched raid that he upbraids Quinn and fires Mike on the spot. Stunned, Mike retreats with Patricia and Jermaine to her palatial manor along with Tempest, Big Ben (summoned to the plant by his old army buddy), and Jermaine’s boyfriend Marcus, the helicopter pilot. With Barbie in the mix, they devise a plan.

Patricia hadn’t planned on dazzling anyone during the rescue, but the newly elected Lord Mayor of Kent, David Sebastian, accompanied Brady to the plant and is thoroughly smitten by his new constituent. Although a bit flattered by his attention, she finds his unnecessary presence suspicious, which prompts Tempest. Calling upon Jane Butterworth’s invaluable hacking skills, he manages to snag the gang invitations to the exclusive birthday party of porn magnate Ivor Biggun, where Sebastian will be an honored guest, and they chase down the Lord Mayor, only to find far more dangerous activity on the menu.

After Mike is ambushed at the Kings Hill bypass while following an influential cultist, Jermaine and Patricia track the entire group to an ancient historical site. What they find stuns behind belief, quashing their theories and revealing a very personal group of hostages, as well as the identity of the murderous High Priest.

Steve Higgs has crafted a paranormal mystery combining the indomitable forces of two of his favorite characters and created an new and outstanding story that will doubtlessly lead to many more.

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