Black Magic Woman: Looks like a fun series!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsurban fantasy book review Justin Gustainis: Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigation: 1. Black Magic WomanBlack Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis

Black Magic Woman begins in Salem, during the infamous witch trials, as a convicted witch utters a curse against her accuser. From there, we cut to the present time, and to a riveting vampire hunt in rural Texas. We are introduced to Quincey Morris, who is sort of a freelance paranormal investigator and vigilante, and also the direct descendant of the Quincey Morris who appears in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (In this universe, Dracula was a true story and Morris a real man, who fathered a child before dying.)

After dealing with the vampires, Morris is hired by a man whose family is being terrorized by unknown forces. He enlists the help of a friend, Libby Chastain, who is a “white witch.” Together, they investigate the metaphysical attacks, tracing them to a grudge rooted in the Salem trials.

Morris and Chastain’s mission takes them all over the country, with danger at every turn. The action is fast-paced and the tension never lets up. This is one of the best thrillers (magic or non-magic) I’ve ever read. Justin Gustainis is well-versed in both the good and evil magic to be found in several traditions: Christian, European pagan, South African, and voodoo. His ability to write well about all of these magics, and weave them into a smooth and suspenseful storyline, is impressive. Behind the relentless action, there are deeper themes, such as racial tension and the unsettling question of whether a “witch hunt” can be justified if the accused is known to be guilty of horrors.

With Black Magic Woman, Gustainis has begun a series which I’ll be following enthusiastically. He uses many of the ingredients that add up to a great ongoing story: a Big Bad to provide an overarching plot, plenty of room for lesser villains to populate individual installments, and a dash of “will they or won’t they” romantic tension, in which the reader is rooting for them to get together but kind of hopes it won’t be anytime soon because the tension itself is so much fun.

I do wish the story had delved more into the heads of the characters and what makes them tick, but there’s enough to intrigue me, and hopefully more to come throughout the Quincey Morris series.

Warnings: Black Magic Woman includes violence against children and a brief mention of animal cruelty.

Morris & Chastain Supernatural Investigations — (2007-2015) Publisher: Occult investigator Quincey Morris and his “consultant,” white witch Libby Chastain, are hired to free a family from a deadly curse that appears to date back to the Salem witch trials. Fraught with danger, the trail finds them stalking the mysterious occult underworlds of Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York, searching out the root of the curse. After surviving a series of terrifying attempts on their lives, the two find themselves drawn inexorably towards Salem itself — the very heart of darkness.

Justin Gustainis Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigation 1. Black Magic Woman 2. Evil Ways fantasy book reviewsJustin Gustainis Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigation 1. Black Magic Woman 2. Evil Ways 3. Sympathy for the DevilJustin Gustainis Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigation 1. Black Magic Woman 2. Evil Ways 3. Sympathy for the DevilJustin Gustainis Quincey Morris Supernatural Investigation 1. Black Magic Woman 2. Evil Ways 3. Sympathy for the Devil

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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