“Magic kills, Pete. Get used to it.”
Pete Caldecott, a Detective Inspector with the London Metropolitan Police at twenty-six, has an idiot ex-fianceé and a job following in her father’s footsteps. When a case for a missing child leads her to a dump of a hotel with a lead, the last thing she expects to find is Jack Winter: former frontman for The Poor Dead Bastards, her idol at sixteen, and a magic user.
“He’d been bloody and still the last time Pete saw him. Eyes staring at the ceiling of another’s tomb.”
Twelve years before, Pete saw him die during a magic ritual gone awry. Now he appears, a desiccated junkie, with information on her case and no answers for what happened that fateful day. Her strange sense of intuition confirms it’s really Jack. But it’s not a tear-filled reunion: he’s furious with her and won’t explain a thing about his apparent death or his life thereafter. Nonetheless, she follows his instructions, seeking the child at the cemetery. Pete finds the little girl crying with tearless, white, staring eyes.
Chilling as the first discovery was, Pete is even more distressed when more parents come forth, and more children are missing. The first little girl identifies her kidnapper as the Cold Man, asserting that he has touched Pete’s life as well. Now she must find Jack and make him help her find the children, even if he claims it’s magic, before they end up like the first.
“Believing him would be admitting that everything in the world wasn’t in plain sight, and it ran contrary to Pete’s whole life, the new one she’d built after Jack.”
She coerces Jack mercilessly into helping her find the missing children, finding out as the drugs leave his system that after that night twelve years ago, Jack’s powers became more powerful. They became much more than he could stand without the numbing effects of drugs, since the dead speak to him incessantly and he has the magical ability to banish them. All the strange magical things Jack had done when she was a girl come back to Pete, and her simple world is turned on its head. Nightmares plague the little sleep she gets, as she is driven to find the predator.
Jack is her entry into the dark world of sorcery in the underbelly of London, the Black, and she is in the thick of it. Tracking the evil that takes the children, and seeking what is sending bansidhe, sorcerers and demons after Jack, they have to solve the case to stay alive, even as they uncover secrets they prefer to keep hidden.
“Where there’s a sorcerer, there’s something jerking the strings and often as not it’s something hungry and not human.”
The spirits seethe, evil sorcerers are at large and a supernatural force is the catalyst. Their time runs short. Can a recovering junkie mage and stunned police detective survive the forces against them?. Can Pete trust Jack? Can Jack help her catch the evil, or is he too far gone to even save himself? What happened to them both twelve years ago? And what repercussions of that day will they still have to deal with?
“Whole land of the dead is buzzing, and it’s the thunder of the oncoming storm.”
5 out of 5 Whatzits.
“Street Magic” made my heart go pitter-pat, when it didn’t stop it flat out! From the botched ceremony in a tomb, all the way through the chases throughout Black London, Pete and Jack’s travails are fascinating and fast-paced. “Street Magic” has complex, imperfect characters who grow through their actions and interactions. Jack’s need to drown out dead spirits by numbing himself with drugs mirrors his despair and anger. He is a bad-ass anti-hero: cheeky, arrogant, but still fundamentally caring. A punk-rock mage, filled to the brim with secrets and attitude. And Pete is no shrinking violet, in fact she is a strong, ass-kicking heroine, a copper who’s not afraid to bust some heads, or tackle a junkie. Even in the face of the unexplainable, she shoves her fist in the face of danger. When she finally looks back at the past she’s avoided, she sees her own potential and power. In the world of Black London, she can do more than just survive.
The creatures, the suspense, the magic: it all adds up to one hell of a spine-tingling ride, just perfect for a ripe October evening.