Select one of the keywords
Dark Magic    by James Swain order for
Dark Magic
by James Swain
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

James Swain's Dark Magic is a mix of urban fantasy and mystery, and looks like the start of a series. The star is famed stage magician Peter Warlock who gives regular shows at his private New York theater.

But it's not all magic tricks. Peter has real abilities and meets other six other psychics (including young witch Holly) every Friday night to predict dire happenings. Though they warn the authorities, they do so anonymously - one of their friends and colleagues, Nemo, was taken to an estate in Virginia and is still a prisoner of the authorities there.

This time, Peter's vision is a stark one - he sees 'scores of people dying on the sidewalk and in the street ... gasping for breath and going into convulsions' in New York four days ahead. How can this catastrophe be prevented?

Peter has a strong relationship with his stage assistant Liza, who 'made him happy in ways that no one had ever managed to before.' But she knows nothing about his psychic talents. At their next magic show, Wolfe, the man Peter saw in his vision, tries to kill him. This brings in detectives who are seeking Wolfe as a member of the Order of Astrum, a cult that practices dark magic.

As Peter tries to pin down Wolfe, while keeping his abilities a secret from the authorities, the assassin goes after each of the Friday night psychics in turn. Liza starts questioning Peter's honesty and their relationship. Peter learns that his parents were once members if the Order of Astrum, and that the latter orchestrated their deaths. And he discovers new talents and a very dark side to his personality.

Peter outs himself to an FBI agent who promises to keep his secret, but can he be trusted? Peter is betrayed by someone close to him, friends die, and loved ones are endangered. As suspense builds, readers wonder if Peter Warlock will be able to prevent the attack on New York, and whether he will retain his humanity and his soul afterwards.

If you enjoy a well written supernatural mystery with a strong vein of horror, then Dark Magic is the one for you. And it looks like the start of a series so we can hope for more spooky adventures ahead for Peter Warlock, his friends and associates.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Fantasy books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews