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Evil Ways (Quincey Morris, Book 2) Paperback – December 30, 2008
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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About the Author
Justin Gustainis is a college professor living in upstate New York. He is the author of the novel
The Hades Project (2003), as well as a number of short stories. In his misspent youth, Mr. Gustainis was, at various times, a busboy, soldier, speechwriter and professional bodyguard. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Short version: If youre more forgiving about author errors, and weird nonsense other series tie-ins, and dont mind slightly masogonistic series', and $6 for you aint a big deal for a book that is edited like a 99c one, this is a 4 star book. Seriously, there are some great parts/concepts.
About 2/3 of the way through this book I had to put it down. (I had to rally really hard to pick it back up and power through it--but I did.) An FBI Agent/white witch decides she has to sleep with a convict in a prison interrogation room in order to get information from him. And shares with her partner about the lack of clothing shes wearing under her skirt about 2 minutes before. The author also employs some, what come across to me as cheap, references to Harry Dresdon, and also Millennium the TV Show. There are also X-Files references so apparently the heroes watch that show in their universe but Millennium never got picked up and Jim Butcher never made it as a writer.
I can get into fiction/fantasy if it has a well built consistent world. This author seemed to be able to mostly do it in the two previous books. This one he over reached or didnt have the same editor or rushed it or something. There are some parts that are good. Other parts grate on the reader.
Paraphrased: 'He had some sort of plastic gun like a glock or sig sauer' Also some of heroes use automatic 45 pistols (the term is semi-auto) If an author is going to make his hero condescending about guns because he's some sort of expert he should do the research to back it up. Even in a reality where fbi agents are witches and the main character who goes around saving people needs to be blackmailed into helping the good guys, the heroes make questionable choices and have odd reactions to things, which makes it hard to overlook all of the non sequiturs. Yes he is the author but, he needs to put out a consistent product if he wants people to happily pay close to $6.00 for it.
This book has the editing, story arc, character building and research of a 99c novel. I can understand why some people like it. If you can over look facts that are wrong, and love the idea of women stuffing magic wants in unmentionable places, being prostitutes and almost all of them being bi-sexual youll probably enjoy this book. It has some genuinely brilliant pieces of writing in it. If however like me your a stickler for facts and, even fantasy characters, behaving realistically this is probably not the series for you.
It starts off with a daring heist which costs the Baghdad National Museum one of its most mysterious artifacts, the Book of Shadows (which resurfaces in a bit). In Los Angeles, occult troubleshooter-for-hire Quincey Morris - and, yes, his ancestor was the very same Quincey Morris featured in Bram Stoker's classic horror novel - is "convinced" by the FBI to help investigate the new rash of ritualistic child murders. Meanwhile, followers of the Right-Hand Path - that is, the benevolent white witches - are being targeted and assassinated, and this means that Morris's friend and sometimes case partner, Libby Chastaine, is in grave peril. Libby figures the best way she can stay alive is if she kept Quincey company. She helps him on his case. He watches her back.
The FBI works the child murders from another angle. Special Agent Fenton is back from BLACK MAGIC WOMAN and he's a bit more used to the paranormal stuff now. It doesn't hurt that his new partner of eight months, she seems to be up on what's weird and mystical. She's certainly nursing a secret. Unlike in the first book, Special Agent Fenton's investigation actually loops him into the main story arc. On Walpurgis Night - or to go with its more ominous name, the Witch's Sabbath - the very-out-of-their-jurisdiction federal agents, and Morris and Chastaine, and their allies converge in Idaho for one of those supernatural all-hell-breaks-loose kind of showdowns. And the Book of Shadows? It plays a key part in all this.
Thick in the mess of things, the shadowy figure who had been pulling strings in BLACK MAGIC WOMAN finally steps into the light; we find out what his deal is. We also find out that he isn't the big player we perceived him to be. Rather, it's that whole "the power behind the throne is the one really calling the shots" deal. We figure this out pretty early on.
So, several cool things. The writer has several really interesting characters to play with. Quincey and Libby's interactions - with their platonic relationship a steady undercurrent - continues to be a fun strength of the series. Gustainis also puts in the work in exploring the Wiccan element, and we're also introduced to several of Libby's Wiccan associates, some of whom don't get to stick around (because they get murdered). I like that Libby, although she's got mad skills, isn't really the most powerful witch around. Her limitations as a practitioner of strictly defensive magic serve the story in that she isn't always relegated to the deus ex machina role. Which means that Quincey Morris, a mere mortal, gets to do more than his share of saving the day. Morris isn't some do-it-all superhero of a guy. He gets results and survives because he's pretty savvy about how the supernatural world works.
Another very intriguing character is the icy monster slayer Hannah Widmark. She's hired by Morris to act as his and Libby's bodyguard. And she's a pretty fascinating person, and may actually have more ties to what's going down than just her being hired as muscle.
The coolest thing Justin Gustainis may have done here is in sneaking in cameos of characters from other authors' works and even from a short-lived paranormal television series. For this sentence, here's the SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER tag - those whom I recognized are folks like Harry Dresden, Lamont Cranston, and Frank Black. I probably missed a few others. But I absolutely salivate at the concept of a shared urban fantasy landscape inhabited by all these characters. Utterly cool.
Gustainis certainly employs a lot of earthy language, but then again people actually do talk like so in everyday conversations. But if you're easily offended... Also, Gustainis doesn't shirk from following thru, and this just might make you uncomfortable with how certain events unfold. Basically, he's saying that you do what you have to do to get the job done. EVIL WAYS is a dark and violent urban fantasy, and chances are you'll end up cringing in spots, although it's a toss-up whether it's supernatural bats or an FBI agent's methods in drawing a lead from an inmate which'll give you the willies. I can't wait for the third novel. It's title is SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, as the author seems to have gone away from Santana and is now effing around in Rolling Stones territory.