Review – Hard Spell – An Absolute Hoot

July 27, 2011 - 12:32 am No Comments

Author:  Justin Gustainis   

Publisher: Angry Robot

Price:  £7.99 (Paperback)

Page count:  349pp (includes excerpt from sequel)

Reviewer:  Theresa Derwin

Hard Spell (Angry Robot)
, a supernatural police procedural, is the latest novel by Justin Gustainis, well known for his Quincy Morris novels.  A mix of pulp noir, urban fantasy and visceral horror, Hard Spell features Detective Stan Markowski and partner Ken Renfer who both work for the Supe Squad; a police department set up to deal with supernatural bad guys such as werewolves, vampires, wizards and witches. 

In their latest case, Rachel Proctor descendant of John Proctor from theSalem’s witch trials, herself a consulting witch for the Supe Squad is on the run possessed by the spirit of wizard George Kulnick.  At the same time, there is a nasty piece of work running round the town ofScrantonmurdering vampires in a ritualistic manner, scoring their bodies with mysterious symbols. If that isn’t enough for Markowski to deal with, he is being pestered by ‘helpful’ Master Vamp Vollman who has his own reasons for hunting down the occultist serial killer.

Thus novel, narrated in the first person by Markowski, bubbles with personality. Gustainis is an engaging writer mingling violence, plot lines, character, great world building and most of all, a brilliant wit, to create a novel that’s a fun roller coaster ride to read. Gustainis has had plenty of practice with his art, and here he shows off his exemplar writing skills in a truly entertaining novel.

At the end there is an excerpt from the sequel Evil Dark and I for one am excited about reading the next instalment.  Good supernatural shenanigans!     

An online You Tube advert for this novel can be found at http://youtu.be/48WN33xlubM.

If you want to know more about Angry Robot’s latest projects take a look at their website.

If you like the look of this book, check it out at Hard Spell (Angry Robot)

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