Dec 14 2012

A Review of 413 by Rick Murcer

There aren’t a lot of murder mystery stories that involve succubi. The thing about those that do, which always bothers me, is that more time is spent on waxing upon the horror and less upon the motivation, the characters and the desires involved. It is interesting when the story turns to the succubus herself more than the corpse left behind I think. But sometimes succubi are simply supporting cast and not the core of the story…

413 by Rick Murcer

413 by Rick Murcer

The work tells of:

Sam MacNabb only writes the facts. That’s what investigative reporters do. But when he shows up at one of the most bizzare murder scenes in Detroit history, not even Christmas can stop his perception of truth and reality from being altered forever.

Sam, properly named Samuel, is a reporter. One with a past, and one who isn’t quite like normal people in a lot of ways. And this time, being different, his past, and reality all come together in a way he never expected.

In room 413, some things should never be investigated for your own sanity…

The work reads very much like a crime procedural in that we have a murder, an investigation, some characters arrive to try to understand what went on and then there is a reveal that wasn’t expected. There is a lot of introspective from Sam throughout this work, the story is told from his perspective and in doing so we get a good idea of how his mind works. That’s an interesting road to travel on as there are some hints about him that do bring up a lot of questions in my mind about him.

Sam is… different. He’s not, for lack of a better description, normal. How he is different I won’t reveal, but there is something there that is hinted at in the story but is never explicitly stated. That’s not a bad thing and I found it interesting to piece together Sam from what hints we have. I kind of life him, but at one point the examination he undertakes does seem to be a bit too much in the story.

For those, like me, that are looking for succubi in stories, it’s not that hard to figure out who she is. To be honest I would have been more surprised if who it turned out to be… wasn’t. They admit to be a succubus, and they are a mix of both sensuality and horror. The horror aspect really overwhelming the former. The description of her victim through the story harkens back to many traditional stories about succubi, and the lengths to which the author details their ultimate end are… well for me personally it’s a bit much.

I say that because it feels like certain points, the smell for one, are repeated over and over again and I didn’t think it added anything to the story as a whole. It is a grizzly death to be sure, but after the first description of the remains, I don’t see why it has to be repeated again and again when someone enters the scene. The reactions alone would have been enough I think.

It feels like there was a lot of story that was lost for all of the rehashing of detail in the story. I would have liked to know more about Sam, the informer that brought him to the scene, and most of all, more about the succubus herself.

I did like that there was some information given on her past, what she looked like and how she fed on and why. It was an interesting tease into something more I hope from this author dealing with the succubi in this universe they have created.

But the end result is that she isn’t the stereotypical telling of the myth, she isn’t sure or clear really about who and what she is either. There is a bit of duality in her words, which was interesting to read. The thing is that while she could have been something more… she really isn’t.

She’s more of a tool to draw the story towards a conclusion, and that conclusion is both satisfying and not so much so. In other words, there is an open door at the end of this story and the author quite clearly says so at the end of this work that it was meant as an introduction to Sam before a longer book appears sometime in 2013.

I think I will likely read that story, not so much for Sam but for the succubus and her story which I would like to see more of.

As for this story, I’ll give it three and a half pitchforks out of five.

A bit too much dwelling on bodies for my liking, a bit too much introspection, not quite enough back story for my personal tastes and the succubus herself I would have liked to have more of.

Perhaps I will see that…




  1. avatar

    So, while you didn’t care for the story as a whole, the succubus character intrigued you. We can hope she gets more play in the book, but I don’t know . . .

  2. avatar

    Supposed to be more… We’ll see…


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