Sword and sorcery, in a high tech society. Yeah, well, it COULD happen. I am not too much into wizards, et al, but since I have found that wizards don’t have to be living in some faux medieval time and place, I like them a lot more. (But I have noticed that they still are not particularly practical — no cures for the common cold or for the strange collection of Republican candidates running for President in 2016. You’d think with all that magic at their disposal, they could come up with something.)
A husband armed with a sword hacks apart his wife in a Denver grocery store. There are dozens of witnesses, and the crime is captured on the security cameras. To the police, it’s an open-and-shut case. Yeah, sure. Your everyday event at the Shop N Save. Maybe he didn’t like her choice of steak for dinner.
To Naomi, the daughter of the couple, it’s evidence of dark magic. She hires her ex-lover, a private investigator named Jonathan Shade specializing in the paranormal, to prove her father, the hacker, is innocent.
I would call this a noir-ly fun book and here’s why. First of all, ever since Jonathan died and came back to life, (hey, I don’t write this stuff, I just report it), he can see ghosts. Jonathan’s receptionist is dead. She (or her spirit or whatever) is attached somehow to her 30’s style typewriter. She can’t go more than 15 feet from it, so if Jonathan wants her to accompany him, he has to take along the typewriter. It turns out that if someone without his skills puts their hand on the typewriter, they, too, can see and talk with Esther, the ghost. Esther is stuck in the twenties, so her speech is full of twenties slang and is quite delightful.
Then the core of the plot is your standard Evil Essence Accidentally Or Deliberately Released From The Magical Something/Place/Box/Jewell which contained it and is now wreaking havoc on the world. So of course, it seems like our Jonny is the only one who can find/battle/contain/prevail/stop that Evil Essence, in this case a wizard from like forever ago who has been sucking all the magic power from the magic power lines. Yeah, I really did write that. You try describing magic power lines without actually writing ‘magic power lines’. See how far you get.
One of the problems with reading this kind of fantasy work is that even though I might enjoy it as I read it, in describing the plot I find it hard to keep a straight face. But really, the noir-y parts are pretty gorey, although the ghost parts are fun and clever. The noir-y parts are maybe not so original or clever, but entertaining nevertheless.
So call it a paranormal thriller with humorous interludes. And seriously, what are sorcerers doing running around in this day and age with swords, for Merlin’s sake? Haven’t they heard there’s an app for that?