Sunday, December 07, 2008

New Tricks - John Levitt

New Tricks
John Levitt

Urban Fantasy

Mason is a jazz guitarist who lives in San Francisco. He’s also a magic practitioner. (In Europe, they still call themselves sorcerers.) Mason was lucky. He found a mentor, Eli, when his magic began to manifest during his teenage years. Over the years, he’s worked for Victor as a magical enforcer, making sure that other practitioners don’t do harm to themselves or others. It’s not a job he particularly likes, but sometimes he needs the extra money.

The three men have gathered at the Castro for a Halloween party. They’re waiting for Sarah, another practitioner, who is never, ever late to anything. Tonight, she’s late and she’s not answering her cell phone. Lou, Mason’s Ifrit (no one really knows what an Ifrit is, but Lou looks a lot like a mini Doberman) manages to track Sarah. She’s sitting on a bench, staring into infinity. There’s a hole in her forehead. It’s clear that someone tried to possess her through physical means, but failed, destroying her. This kind of practice is prohibited, but there are dark practitioners.

Mason’s old Friend, Rolando, and his sister, Josephine, have just arrived from Portland with a similar tale. Practitioners there were murdered. When a man called Byron left Portland, the problems stopped. Now he’s in San Francisco, and they’ve started again. It seems like simple math.

I didn’t read the first book, DOG DAYS, but the characters and situations are introduced in such a way that this was no impediment. Each of the characters is individual, and has a unique outlook on life and magic. There’s a scene during the book (not a spoiler) where Mason uses a piece of classical music as the means of creating a virtual world. Although it’s fanciful, any musician will understand the underlying theory. It makes perfect sense, from beginning to end. While I had the killer pinpointed quite early in the story, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. And the final scene with the ‘bad guy’ was incredibly effective. If you like urban fantasy, this one is a cut above the rest.

Rating: 8
December 2008
ISBN# 978-0-441-01656-3 (paperback)


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