I’ve been on a major urban fantasy and paranormal reading kick for the past few weeks, and stumbled on several authors I’d never heard of but that I’ll be buying entire series from very, very soon. Jaye Wells and her Prospero’s War series, starting with the book DIRTY MAGIC, are definitely on the list now.
This book was unique compared to many of the urban fantasy books I’ve read in that it was at heart a police procedural – Kate Prospero thinks of herself as a cop first and foremost, and that shows so clearly in her character and her choices in this book. She’s pulled herself out of the dirty magic underworld she grew up in, and fighting the people still putting addictive potions out onto the street is a major priority.
Second only to keeping her little brother on the straight and narrow out of reach of her old contacts, of course. Danny’s existence was a detail I actually loved seeing here. So often in paranormal and urban fantasy, the protagonists are the consummate loners – having either lost all of their family or choosing to push them away for some reason. Kate might have lost her mother in a horrible way, but she’s devoted to doing the best she can for her brother. She stumbles along the way for sure, but he’s still the most important person in her life, and I love seeing that shift from the normal tropes of this genre.
She also has an awesome best friend – yet another difference from the uber-loaner trope. She and Penn share a lot, including their recovery from addiction and weekly visits to an addict recovery group which was a very realistic element to this story.
DIRTY MAGIC is a not so vague take on drug wars – the author actually pitched it as The Wire & Breaking Bad but with magic – but the way Wells created the world was just utterly fantastic. I love all the details she wound together with everything from the different gangs or “covens” to the awful side effects of even “clean” magic potions to magic and potions being part of the technical side of the task force Kate works with. It’s just a really enjoyable book, and I’ve already ordered and am waiting on the sequel to ship. If that doesn’t say I loved it – I don’t know what will!
So have any of y’all read DIRTY MAGIC or any others of Jaye Wells’s books? Have a great urban fantasy to rec? Let me know over at Twitter @C_L_McCollum!