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Hard Spell

Friday, November 29, 2019

Hard Spell (2011) Justin Gustainis (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation)

Hard SpellStan Markowski is a detective in Scranton’s Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit. He works the night shift and works the cases that deal with supernaturals.

  My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge.   

Also a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9 mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

This is a fun story. It’s a police procedural, only with monsters, and is a series that I wish had not ended at three books.

“Put the word out, will you?” I said. “Quiet, no drama. But make it clear that if anybody can give me a line on this new spellcaster, I’d owe them a heck of a big favor.”

Yeah, I really said “heck”. I’m no Boy Scout, but it’s not smart to say words like “hell” in a supe bar. You never know what might be listening.

Part of what I enjoy so much is it feels very familiar, both the area and the ethnicities populating that area.

Plus, it’s just fun.

  I once asked a warlock why spells contain all those “thee”s and “thou”s, and other stuff that nobody says anymore.   

“When it comes to theory, no one is more conservative or fundamentalist as a magician,” he’d told me. “It would make Southern Baptists look wild, by comparison. Lots of the spells in use today were first translated into English in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, when people did talk like that. The belief is, if a spell works, you don’t mess with it, even to update the language. You’d never know what effect even the smallest change would have – until it was too late.”

That’s not to say there aren’t dark parts–there are plenty of them, since they deal with ritual sacrifices and other awfully things–but like most emergency responders, they use a lot of black humor. And (this is important) there is a fair amount of violence but when it’s described it’s not with a lot of detail–there are very few adjectives, and most of the awfulness is left to your imagination.

But truly, it’s just fun.

  Ned once explained to me that academic papers usually have a colon in the title, because so many of them are written by assholes.

They’re available on kindle and as paperbacks, so you can easily look into them. Just ignore the covers, which are truly awful, but in a campy, over-the-top way.

Publisher: Angry Robot
Rating: 8/10

Categories: 8/10, Fantasy, Mystery, Police, Re-Read, Supernatural     Comments (0)    



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