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Black Magic Woman (Quincey Morris, Book 1) Paperback – January 5, 2009
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Already tagged with major kudos from writer Jim Butcher (creator of the Dresden Files series), Gustainis’ first book featuring supernatural investigators Quincey Morris and his partner, Libby Chastain, seems primed to make a big splash across genres. Set in a contemporary world where such phenomena as vampires, werewolves, and similar critters are an acknowledged part of the landscape, the tale centers on Quincey and Libby’s quest to end the black-magic career of an elusive descendant of a witch killed in seventeenth-century Salem who still has a family grudge to settle. Although he draws from the work of Butcher, Gustainis adds plenty of his own twists, including backstories that give depth and range to his magical protagonists. This warp-speed page-turner will appeal first to horror fans, but don’t be surprised to see it make significant inroads with crime-fiction readers who don’t usually mess with the supernatural. --Elliott Swanson --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
"Family vendettas abound in an intriguing tale that pits a descendant of Bram Stoker's Quincey Morris against two kinds of dark magic -- an inherited curse and Zulu fetish witchcraft. As much as I enjoy walking in a Wiccan wonderland, stories that explore other witchcraft traditions are a treat. This one's a real page-turner and a solid start to a new paranormal detective series."
-- Elaine Cunningham, author of "Shadow in the Darkness" and "Shadows in the Starlight"
"Dennis Wheatley meets Kim Newman! Voodoo and Muti and old Salem witches! Shout outs to Jack Crow and Harry D'Amour! I loved it!
Justin is a first class writer; he's smart and he's fun, he moves quickly and he takes corners at speed. Every time you think you know where he's going, he makes a point of going somewhere else. His characters are sharp and vivid, his dialogue crackles with wit and tension, and when it comes to the scarier corners of the magical underworld, he knows his stuff.
This is a novel that's packed with story and engaging characters and I can't wait to read the next one. "
--Simon R. Green, author of the ""Nightside"" series
""Black Magic Woman" is the best manuscript I've ever been asked to read. Keep an eye on Justin Gustainis. You'll be seeing more of him soon." - Jim Butcher. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
That didn't necessarily bother me, but it did mean the author has to work harder to invest me in each character. I feel that bar wasn't met.
I also noticed several things that bothered me, first and foremost was the author repetitively used the characters whole name. Once I'd been formerly introduced, I didn't need to see more than "Libby" or "Quincey" to keep up with who was doing what, and it do throw me to see both their first and last names. It's a little thing, but it was a detraction and keep that barrier between me and the characters higher.
One of the plot points in the book has to do with a black witch, no spoilers there. But - and here are the spoilers - so skip ahead to avoid:
Why was this witch so powerful one minute and so weak the next? I really struggled with the fact that she was able to divert the driver of an SUV to a hit and run, but then the very next day did nothing really "major" to prevent Quincey from heading toward her home in Salem? She sent him warnings all the way, and messed with his mind, but why didn't she make another attempt on his life? Why wait until he had actually arrived, confronted her, and then returned to his hotel room? That just didn't make sense.
end of spoilers
I really liked the concept of these two characters background, experience - working together as a team. Just didn't feel emotionally tied to the outcome, didn't care enough about what happened. I might give the next book a try, if it shows up for free on one of my book lists, but otherwise probably won't spend money on it to see if the author improves.
I never got a real sense of who Quincey and Libby were as individuals, thus, it was difficult to become emotionally invested in them. I still don't have a clear picture of what Quincey or Libby realy look like. I enjoyed the subplot involving the FBI agent and the SA detective. Moreover, the latter character was the only character to whom I somewhat related to on an emotional level. However, the subplot did sort of take attention away for Q &L who were suppose to be the main characters.
In the second half of the book, I even began to question why Quincey and Libby kept going into dangerous situations unprepared and sometime unaware of the potential for danger when they were suppose to be so outstanding in their fields. For example, even a lay person knows that in the voodoo world you don't give a potential enemy one's real name b/c there is power in one's name. Yet what doesn't Quincey do when they go to see the black magic practitioner in New Orleans? He gives this woman his real name and looks at Libby bewildered when she gives a false name. Come on! Where's that alleged cunning, expertise that the main plot says he possess. There is also an editing error at 36%, location 2265 that state's that the LaRue's are Sarah Carter's ancestors. I actually reread it 3 times to make sure. Talk about being yanked out of the story. I also could have done without Quincey's Texan Shtick routine. The "pardnor" routine was noticeably awkward in a story in which the flow of said dialogue already left a lot to be desires. It felt awkward and artificial. He went to Harvard for crisps sakes. Under Amazon's rating system 3 stars mean "It's ok" and for me that's exactly what it was an okay story that had so much potential.
Finally, I think that the book is overpriced. Glad that others found it outstanding, but I say read something else especially at almost $6.00 you can do better.
Unfortunately, I DNFed this book at 83%. More accurately, I realized that I just didn't care enough and skipped to the end.
I wish there was a concrete reason why I didn't like this series. I just felt like there was a glass wall separating me from all the characters, preventing me from really connecting with any of them. I don't know if it's him or me or whatever - no one really came 'alive' for me.
His research into South African witchcraft is fascinating and really educational. I enjoyed that aspect of the book.
Also, I was disappointed that he used the same mechanism for expanding on characters pasts - reviewing an old letter or newspaper articles.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is so much going on in Black Magic Woman. It is easy to get confused because there are a lot of characters, multiple points of...Read more