Sunday, February 27, 2011

Play Dead - John Levitt


Play Dead
A Dog Days Novel
John Levitt
Ace

Urban Fantasy

Mason is a jazz guitarist in San Francisco. He’s also a practitioner in a world that doesn’t know – or doesn’t want to know – about magic. He does a lot of freelance work for Victor, who oversees the use of magic in the area. There are black practitioners, and those who use their magic in ways that might harm others or expose the rest of the community. Imagine Mason’s surprise when Jessie Alexander, a well-known black practitioner wants to hire him to find a young woman who stole something from her.

Of course, Mason doesn’t believe it will be that simple. But Victor wants him to take the job just to find out what’s really happening. If a powerful black practitioner has a problem serious enough to need help, it could affect lots of people. As it turns out, Victor is right. More right than he ever wanted to be. The young woman in question is on a mission that could turn the entire world inside-out, and she’s fine with that.

This is the most recent entry in a series that includes NEW TRICKS. I’ve missed a few of these novels, but they’re all written in such a way that, while they’re a continuous series, each novel feels complete in and of itself. The necessary background gets sketched in where appropriate, and the world’s rules are succinctly explained. My favorite character, naturally, is Lou, Mason’s Ifrit. Ifrits are magical creatures who find a practitioner and act as a sort of familiar – but much more than that. Lou, in particular, looks like a mini-Doberman.

Mason’s journey through this story takes him to some interesting and unique places. The characters make absolute sense within this particular world. Even the bad guys have concrete reasons for the actions they take. The endgame to this novel is both epic and surprising. I’m sure I’m not alone in my impatient desire to know just where things go from here.

Rating: 7 ½
February 2011
ISBN# 978-0-441-01964-9 (paperback)

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