Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells (Book No.1 of Prospero’s War)

Dirty Magic is one of my December reviews that I’m catching up to posting a review about.

I really enjoyed Dirty Magic, I think it’s a good first book in what promises to be a very entertaining series of urban fantasy books. The main character of the story is Kate Prospero.  Kate is a cop working the beat.  She actually really loves her job and longs to make a difference on the streets where dirty magic has become a major problem.  Unfortunately Kate’s attempts at promotion are mostly overlooked due to prejudices.  Kate used to be an adept herself and was being raised as the next in line to take over one of the major districts from her Uncle Abe.  Abe Prospero was a main player in the field of dirty magic but is now behind bars and Kate has since sworn off all magic cooking and left her family, and former love interest, behind.  She spends her time working and trying to make ends meet and bringing up her brother Danny in a safe environment away from the temptations her family are famous for!

At the start of the story Kate chases down a bad guy through the narrow streets which lead to the cauldron – a bit of a boiling pot of badness and quite appropriately named.  During the chase the two end up in a fight resulting in the assailant being shot.  It turns out that the now dead guy had taken some sort of dirty magic called Grey Wolf that gave him great strength coupled with an uncontrollable blood lust.  It also seems that this drug may shortly be more widely available on the market and to say this will give the police a major headache is something of an understatement.

Coupled with this we are introduced to a local businessman, formally part of the dirty magic business, but now supposedly doing good deeds for the community.  John Volos – he’s definitely got the attention of the police and Kate certainly suspects him of being less than squeaky clean and has started giving him more attention than she is entirely comfortable with – given that he was the former love interest that she left behind.

I really enjoyed this to be honest.  I think the world building is enough to get you into the frame but not enough to bog you down.  Kate is likable and easy to read about.  She’s your typical cynical, comes from the wrong side of the tracks cop – hardass and capable of looking after herself.  She has a pretty tough life complicated by the fact that most people, including herself, can’t get over her background and family connections.

Following the initial opening scene, where it turns out the junkie that Kate killed during her chase was actually an informant, she finds herself coming to the attention of a new magic investigations team.  It seems like somebody has finally realised that they can use Kate’s inside knowledge of the cauldrons and that she might finally have her break to become a detective.  

Anyway, I’m going to keep this review short – I enjoyed this book.  I thought Kate was interesting to read about with all her internal conflict and I will definitely read more.   The supporting cast are also an interesting bunch.  We have her brother Danny who is desperately trying to find out more about his family and tentatively wondering if he could be an adept – something that Kate is strongly set against.  We have her new colleagues, including the rather dishy Agent Morales, and Mez – who is also an adept who uses his skills to aid his forensics.  It was interesting to read about Mez and I did like his character – it gives you an opportunity to see somebody using magic and cooking potions for good reasons.  We are also introduced to a rather unusual character in Kate’s informant.  This is my first introduction to an homonculous –  a fully formed, small man who is attached, literally, to his sister – very unusual and the only thing I could think of by comparison was Kuato from Total Recall.

In terms of criticisms – I haven’t really got any.  I suppose you could say this is just one more urban fantasy series and does it bring anything new to what seems to be an already quite busy genre?  In answer I think it has it’s own uniqueness, it’s interesting to read about dirty magic and the obvious comparisons to drugs and I think I will enjoy reading about Kate’s struggles.  Plus Jaye Wells is a writer who has already written quite a number of well liked books and her writing experience clearly shows in this book.  Definitely a series that I will continue to read.

This review is based on an Arc that I was gifted.


3 Responses to “Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells (Book No.1 of Prospero’s War)”

  1. Jenny/Wondrous Reads

    This one randomly arrived for review before Xmas – now I definitely want to read it 😀

  2. ‘February brings the rain’ … a quick recap | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] Cursed Moon by Jaye Wells – really looking forward to this! Really enjoyed Dirty Magic. […]

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