Phantom of the Catacombs

Chronicles of the Order Book 5

Young Adult - Fantasy - Urban
173 Pages
Reviewed on 09/03/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I am JB Michaels, award-winning and USA Today Bestselling Author of two series: Bud Hutchins Thrillers and the Tannenbaum Tailors.

I have spent my life in the study of story from riveting novels to the slam-bang action-packed world of comics to the examination of film history, I have spent a lifetime learning and examining the elements that make a story incredible. This steadfast dedication has led me to writing stories of my own.

I am married and with a son, I have a great love of family. I hope that you enjoy my bestselling books that mash genres from thrillers to science fiction to fantasy!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Phantom of the Catacombs: A Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thriller, Book 5 is a paranormal fantasy novel for young and new adults written by J.B. Michaels. Bud’s grandfather, Kenneth Hutchins, had been his mentor, inspiration, and friend as Bud was growing up; he was the one person who understood bud. Teleporting to Castle McDougall to try to rescue his grandfather was an automatic and instinctive move for Bud. Tragically, Kenneth’s injuries were too severe, leaving Bud the hard task of bringing his body home and informing his parents of their loss. Ivy Zheng also returned from that rescue mission forever changed -- by a vampire bite. The thirst she struggled so mightily to resist could only be assuaged by stolen packets of blood from the hospital’s blood bank; though she did increasingly ponder how much better fresh blood might be. Her primary concern, however, was for her father, whose atypically affectionate response during their last phone call raised her suspicions that something was drastically wrong. Those suspicions proved all-too-accurate when she discovered her father’s battered and unconscious body in his home. The doctors at the hospital could fix his broken leg but had been unable to discover why he remained in a comatose state.

Phantom of the Catacombs continues the chronicles of the newest members of the Order of St. Michael in an intense and fast-paced manner. The author begins this work with a compact chronology of the series, which is quite helpful for readers who’ve been following the series get back into the swing of the story. That said, the Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thrillers should be read in order to get the full effect of this dynamic and compelling urban fantasy which will appeal to urban fantasy readers of all ages. Michaels puts a lot of effort into making his characters come alive in his stories, and Phantom of the Catacombs is no exception to that. He continues to weave a rich tapestry of history regarding the Order, and I especially appreciated the World War II story Cardinal Riggio shares with Bud and Maeve. Michaels’ plot is tidy and intricate, and his writing style makes this adventure thriller a joy to read. I’m looking forward to the next book in this series. Phantom of the Catacombs: A Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thriller, Book 5 is most highly recommended.

Edith Wairimu

Fifth in the Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thrillers series, Phantom of the Catacombs by JB Michaels follows Maeve, Ivy, Bud and Bert as they head to the Vatican which is the headquarters of the Order of St. Michael, a secret organization tasked with the responsibility of fighting off evil spirits. The city is preparing for the World Games opening ceremony which is only days away. Amidst the beauty of the city, a phantom lies behind the shadows and workers busy updating the Colosseum ahead of the ceremony start disappearing. Danger lurks at every turn and the friends have to work together to defeat a fearsome enemy. Along the way, they will experience shock, surprise, fear, and loss as their courage is tested and secrets come to light.

Phantom of the Catacombs is a thrilling young adult novel that breaks the suspense of horrific events with a touch of romance. Told through realistic internal dialogue and external conversations, the story makes for a captivating read. The scenes are vivid with gripping action that makes the book a page-turner. The story begins with a scene that captures attention and as the plot moves forward, a sense of foreboding continues to envelop the group’s activities up to the end. The characters are few which makes reading the work uncomplicated. To enliven the story, the author employs a fast pace which increases the suspense of events. Phantom of the Catacombs by JB Michaels is a fascinating read that fans of fantasy will love.

K.C. Finn

Phantom of the Catacombs is a work of young adult fantasy fiction penned by author J. B. Michaels, and it forms the fifth book in a collection of supernatural thriller novels centered on the intrepid adventurer Bud Hutchins. Our socially awkward hero is well into his role as part of the Order of St. Michael by this point in the plot, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still heaps of trials and tribulations ahead of him. Bud, Maeve and the gang arrive at the Order’s HQ in the Vatican, only to discover that workers are going missing as Rome prepares for a huge sporting event. There is a phantom to be found if it doesn’t find them first.

Jumping into a new series partway can be a daunting thing, but author J. B. Michaels draws his heroes with such confidence that it only takes a moment to get to know them. As a central figure, Bud is a unique hero with plenty of skill but still a lot of naivety and much to learn, which makes him instantly endearing as he and his fascinating bunch of friends begin their latest investigation. The action is well-paced with description, sound effects, and sharp sentences to construct genuinely frightening moments, and a level of violence which is both exciting and just a little shocking for the YA audience. Overall, Phantom of the Catacombs is a hard-hitting novella with thrills in all the right places, and indicative of a superb supernatural series that fantasy fans are sure to enjoy.

Peggy Jo Wipf

It thrilled me to review the newest JB Michaels book, Phantom of the Catacombs. The fifth in the Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thriller series, this novel is just as enticing as the others. Ivy is beginning her transformation into a vampire; there is no stopping the inevitable. Maeve and Bud are investigating other family members who have been in The Order of St. Michaels and were injured or dead. Were these monks placed on missions that put them in harm’s way intentionally? The one person who can answer their questions is at the Vatican. While in Rome, Ivy, Bud, and Maeve are faced with a killing phantom that appears to have no purpose in its kills. Could it be another vampire, or worse, a mysterious shapeshifter?
Phantom of the Catacombs is an excellent continuation of the Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thrillers. I love how each story complements the other as JB Michaels reveals more of Ivy, Bud, and Maeve. I would not want to neglect Bert, Bud’s robot who travels in a bag mostly because he is only ahead for now. Bert adds the humor while Bud is serious and focused. Each of these books is short enough to keep your attention while creating a desire to read more. Fighting evil and trusting your friends is the heart of this novel, but the author takes it further. Friends change but these three learn to accept the bad along with the good. They have each other’s backs while getting them the help they need, which isn’t always easy. A thriller that leaves readers craving more.

Lit Amri

In Phantom of the Catacombs (Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thrillers, Book 5) by JB Michaels, the story continues from where it left off in Book 4. Accompanied by Maeve and Bert’s head, a grieving Bud returns to the Southside of Chicago with his late grandfather's body before the trio leaves for Vatican City. Seeking answers for his grandfather's death, he meets Kenneth's old partner, Cardinal Riggio, who explains about Kenneth's past with the Order of St. Michael. Meanwhile, amateur archaeologist Ivy Zheng is trying her best to cope with her recent transition to vampirism. Someone who works in the shadows-a phantom-is responsible for the disappearances of workers who are restoring the Colosseum for the opening ceremony of the World Games. What awaits the gang this time?

Despite it being the fifth installment in the series, Phantom of the Catacombs is a standalone for readers who are new to the series as some background info is drip-fed as the story progresses. The plot is as fast-paced and tantalizing as ever with the clear-cut and straightforward narrative. Protagonist Bud Hutchins isn’t an easy character to root for at times as he has the tendency to be sarcastic but his ability to handle and survive the task at hand is always admirable. On the other hand, I found Ivy Zheng's story development and the phantom's POV exciting. With mysteries upon mysteries and solid character growth from start to finish, this is overall another truly exhilarating and commendable installment from Michaels for the Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thrillers.