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Archive for April 27th, 2008

Black Magic Woman
by Justin Gustainis
ISBN: 9781844165414
Solaris Books
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Paranormal Thriller

Author’s website: www.justingustainis.com

Quincey Morris isn’t your typical private investigator. For one thing, he happens to be a straight descendant of Bram Stoker’s Quincey Morris. He also specializes in supernatural cases involving vampires, werewolves, succubis, and other terrifying beings.

In this first book in the series, Quincey is called to help a family who is being tormented by, supposedly, a ghost. On closer inspection, however, it becomes evident that a simple ghost isn’t the culprit, and that darker, more sinister and eminently dangerous forces are at work: a powerful curse dating back to the time of the infamous Salem witch trials. Together with his partner Libby Chastain, who happens to be a white witch, Quincey sets out to undo the curse in order to save the tormented family. The investigation takes them to Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York as they try to discover the identity of the black witch who is the root of all the problems. At the same time, innocent children are being abducted for utterly despicable reasons. Are their killings related to the curse? Will Quincey and Libby outwit the evil witch, fight the villains who work for her, and stop the murder of innocent souls?

Black Magic Woman is one of the most enjoyable paranormal suspense novels I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing recently. Black magic, witches, and a thoroughly sympathetic supernatural detective team, together with the plot’s many exciting twists and turns, make this book a thrilling and enjoyable read. The author combines elements of traditional witchcraft with Zulu fetish witchcraft–truly creepy, truly fascinating.

The protagonist possesses just the right amount of boldness and braveness, strength and sensitivity, and has the perfect sense of justice. He’s the good guy next door–except, of course, his job is investigating paranormal events and destroying supernatural fiends. The secondary characters are very well drawn as well: the villains are evil without being stereotypical. Indeed, the characterization of some of the minor characters, and not only the witchcraft, is what makes this novel truly terrifying.

The action doesn’t let up, and the ending is satisfying and will leave readers hungry for more. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the sequel, Evil Ways. If you’re a fan of paranormal thrillers/mysteries and urban fantasies, you’ll want to add Gustainis to your list of favorite authors.

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