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» » Hard Spell (Occult Crimes Unit Investigati)

Hard Spell (Occult Crimes Unit Investigati) by Timothy Lantz,Justin Gustainis

Hard Spell (Occult Crimes Unit Investigati)
Hard Spell (Occult Crimes Unit Investigati)
Timothy Lantz,Justin Gustainis
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Size epub:
1441 kb
Angry Robot (July 26, 2011)
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Literature & Fiction
Genre Fiction
Stan Markowski is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton PD's Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit.Like the rest of America, Scranton's got an uneasy 'live and let unlive' relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that's when they call Markowski. He carries a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.File Under: Urban Fantasy [ Dial V For Vampire | Forbidden Spells | Bite Club | Scranton By Night ]
  • Arcanescar
Full Disclosure. I got this book a long time ago. Read it and absolutely loved it. At the time, I was sad that there weren't any other books in the series. I then got an email from the author off of another review I did asking if I would review his books if he sent me a free copy. The good news is that this was the book and now there were two more. So I did get a free copy for a review, but I have not been told what to say or guided in any way.

Enough disclosure. This is a outstanding series. It is hard hitting with flawed lead characters. They have their own problems that are very real and they are forced to deal with them and develop new challenges. The main character is a police office that joined the supernatural squad to get a chance to kill the blood suckers that took his family. He is a cop. He thinks like a cop. He talks like a cop. The people he works with are cops. The author did a truly outstanding job in capturing that cop look and feel in a world where vampires and werewolves and demons are just another perp, or victim. Great character arc though the book and through the entire series. This is what Anita Blake should have been. But Justin does a much better job and dangit, I read this one in a single setting. Not that it was short, but I was riveted. Well done.

Get all three in the series. Hopefully there will be more. The action is believable. The dialog is spot on. Cop humor and outright fear that the main character, or characters, are simply not going to make it. You best set some time aside as you won't be putting this one down.

In the first book, he spent some time showing the world, i.e. a president that had a closeted werewolf etc. There was a cheesy reference or two to some old cop TV shows, but after the first few pages, all that fell away and holy smokes, what a ride.
  • Juce
The series and the author were new to me. I ordered with mild trepidation because so many of the recent Urban Fantasies, especially those from new authors, were pretty bad. Well, I'd had no need to fear.

Straightforward story, well written. Main drawbacks: as other reviewers have noted, the supernaturals are standard-issue, and the prose, while fine, doesn't have quite the sweeping pull of the Elders of the Genre. I skimmed over a few sections in the 80%-ish area that slowed down the story unnecessarily. No X-Ray, chapters, or page numbers.

The things I liked: Straightforward cop, decent chap, not the bestubbled battler of personal problems that you see so often these days. Good clean prose, without the problems that you see so... Good plotting, with no "HEY, wait a minutes" when you finish the book, because with hindsight you've seen a glaring plot blunder. Some reviewers found the police procedural template a bit dry; I did not, as I do enjoy PP's, and this one is a nice example. There are small touches of clever humor, (to paraphrase, "All right goblins come out with your claws up") that I enjoyed greatly, and seem to be part of this author's unique flavor. They offset the dryness very well. They do tail off a bit towards the end, as the story accelerates.

I hope this direct story-telling and the humor continue in the later members of the series, which I will certainly read.

So, in summary, a good cross-genre urban fantasy and traditional police procedural that works (and reads) well.
  • mym Ђудęm ęгσ НuK
I really like this series, especially as it takes place in Scranton Pa. and the surrounding area where I have lived my whole life.
It's fun for me to see how the author treats the area and it's residents, with a healthy dose of reality, even if it is an urban fantasy.
Okay, there are some mistakes, which would matter only to someone like myself who lives here, Clarks Summit is on the wrong side of the county and he actually means Waverly for the mega rich snobs. Also Abington Heights is a school district, not a muni, and actually encompasses both Clarks Summit and Waverly. But most else is spot on, including the Rite Aid (the first store in the chain actually, I am in there all the time) on Spruce Street, as well as the corruption locally. Oh, and the University of Scranton which is locally referred to as "The (or more often Da) U".
As far as the story, it is well written, and unlike others it doesn't get bogged down in over blown fight scenes. It has plenty of action nonetheless, as well as humor. The characters are well done and I see that more of their backgrounds and the whole universe he has created will be expanded in future stories. I look forward to them, even without the local angle.
If you enjoy the Dresden Files and the Nightside books you will really enjoy this series.
I am looking forward to reading the next two stories in the series. And if Gustainis wants a local to help with references I am wiling to help.
  • Ieslyaenn
In the realm of urban fantasy this is closer to a gritty police procedural, "life on the streets." In the world-of-the-book, the existence of the fantastic is public knowledge, but this knowledge has not truly transformed the world. (It's closer to the Anita Blake's universe than Harry Dresden's). Our hero is an on-the-outs police detective who has to handle a series of murders of vampires, the very monsters he despises. The characters are pretty well realized and the action is well done. There's not a whole lot new here, but it's well done.

Why only three stars? The difficulty I have with many urban fantasy novels is the reaction of the world to the existence of the supernatural. This is not a minor flaw, since a major plot point is that a relative of one characters becomes a vampire to avoid dying of a very real human illness. If vampiric immortality is such an easy choice, can you *imagine* what that would do to the world? What about the religious reaction? The all-too-human reaction to finding predators in their midst? In gritty, realistic urban fantasy the unrealistic reaction of humanity in this book just rings too hollow.