No sooner does Warsaw slip the shackles of communism and open its arms to capitalism's promise than along slides a remnant of its darkest past (yesterday, the 1940s, or the 1600s, depending), heaving spanners into the works. And headless spanners, at that.
Six decapitated corpses with nothing in common aside from death have lately littered Warsaw. That's all the much-suffering, chain-smoking Komisarz Stefan Rej has to go on until the seventh corpse, a radio commentator and outspoken critic of the U.S.-based Senate International Hotels, shows up in the excavated hole that will soon house the multimillion dollar Warsaw Senate Hotel.
For Sarah Leonard, the Senate International Hotel's beautiful and bullheaded VP in charge of construction, time is money, and the chain's losing both in spades because workers have refused to enter the site until "the Executioner," as the media has dubbed him, or "the demon," as the workers call him, is apprehended.
"I don't believe this! These are grown men and this is the middle of the most modern city in eastern Europe. And they're afraid of a devil?" Desperate for resolution, Sarah imports Clayton Marsh, a retired, brilliant Chicago police inspector, and a gang of German replacement workers, three of whom are quickly frappéd to a fare-thee-well at Sarah's well-shod feet. After several more murders, two séances, a number of sewer chases, some Nazi-era flashbacks, a botched exorcism, and a dash of East-meets-West hootchy- kootchy, the unlikely trio (Sarah, Rej, and Marsh) bring Graham Masterton's 28th novel to a more-or-less satisfying, if not wholly definitive, close.
Brzezicki said, "You don't think it's strange that they believe in God, do you? Why should you think it's strange that they believe in devils?"
"Oh, spare me," said Sarah.
Fun? Yes. Grisly? Absolutely. Engaging? Mostly. A masterpiece of plot and pacing? Hardly, but most entertainment isn't, and despite its shortcomings, The Chosen Child is roundly entertaining. --Michael Hudson