Today I am pleased to present a review of The Curse Merchant by J.P. Sloan. Please check out the other Tour Stops to see what others thought, read excerpts and see interviews.
Title: The Curse Merchant
Series: The Dark Choir #1
Author: J.P. Sloan
Genre: Urban Fantasy Noir
Words: 83,000 / 276 Pages
Purchase: Amazon | Smashwords |
Book Description: Dorian Lake has spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian’s disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.
His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian’s captivating ex-lover. After two years’ absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen’s affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation… with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.
If you are looking for a book that manages to engage on every level, brings a different approach and attitude to the working of magic and ancient forces, and has a main character with heart and integrity – this is the book for you. Dorian is a practitioner who crafts charms and hexes in the city of Baltimore. His hexes and charms are fueled by karma – karma of the recipient of the charm, and can work for good or bad depending on the personal history of the charm recipient.
Through a series of missed connections and unexpected twists, Dorian is convinced to help retrieve the soul of a former lover from a Soul Merchant in the city, and this decision brings Dorian into a series of personal choices and decisions that were, as recently as a month prior, an anathema to him.
With the tension building as the deadlines run down and the pressure builds, watch Dorian outwit, outmaneuver and outthink the lesser skilled practitioner, as he makes decisions that will alter his life forever.
A beautifully crafted story with the character of Dorian being both uniquely voiced and incredibly detailed. Rich in history and research, with glimpses into the actual craft as well as the price and cost of each charm cast, the craft is not voodoo or Santeria – it is far older and more basic, drawing on the essential forces and ancient beings that are often forgotten. With an eye for explaining the elemental nature of the magical powers, and clear delineations of costs, we are able to watch Dorian manipulate forces to his ends.
As the first in a series, this book has it all. A protagonist that is relatable and likeable, with an endpoint in this book that only ends one chapter in Dorian’s quest while leaving room for more.
I received an eBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for Full Moon Bites tours. I was not compensated for this review, and all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author: I am a storyteller, eager to transport the reader to strange yet familiar worlds. My writing is dark, fantastical, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, and other times hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. I write science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, and several shades in between.
I am a husband and a father, living in the “wine country” of central Maryland. I’m surrounded by grapevines and cows. During the day I commute to Baltimore, and somehow manage to escape each afternoon with only minor scrapes and bruises. I am also a homebrewer and a certified beer judge. My avocations dovetail nicely!