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by Gary Jonas

Magic can be deadly... When Private Investigator Jonathan Shade's ex-lover walks into his Denver office asking him to prove her father didn't commit the murder that dozens of witnesses saw and security cameras captured, Shade finds himself in the thick of magical intrigue. In a world where evil warlocks refuse to die, magically engineered assassins deal merciless death and ancient myths aren't quite so mythical, only Shade and his sexy partner, Kelly, can stop a power-hungry sorcerer from taking over the world. Too bad Shade doesn't have any magic.
Download Modern Sorcery epub
ISBN: 0615534945
ISBN13: 978-0615534947
Category: Fantasy
Subcategory: Fantasy
Author: Gary Jonas
Language: English
Publisher: Sky Warrior Book Publishing, LLC (October 20, 2011)
Pages: 260 pages
ePUB size: 1473 kb
FB2 size: 1963 kb
Rating: 4.8
Votes: 231
Other Formats: lit txt azw lrf

The label urban fantasy seems to cover wide ground these days, but if you're in the mood for a deftly executed example of this popular subgenre, then Gary Jonas's Modern Sorcery is likely perfect for you. It contains arguably all the best elements of urban fantasy, crafted together with a hardboiled yarn and rolled into a smooth and satisfying package complete with uncluttered, humor-laden prose, quirky characters, and a perfectly paced plot. As you might expect, the blend of magic and everyday life (and crime) takes center stage, along with nonstop pacing filled with dangerous encounters and cinematic swordplay.

Set in wizard-infested Denver, in a present in which magic exists but is weakening, Modern Sorcery skillfully blends the genres without ever becoming melodramatic or self-conscious. Protagonist Jonathan Shade is a typical PI - quick with his sardonic quips - but even though he is surrounded by magic-using characters, he himself has no personal magical capability and magic doesn't affect him directly. His beautiful, mysterious partner Kelly Chan teaches martial arts and kicks butt with glee (and a sword). Shade's secretary, Esther, is actually a ghost physically bound to an antique Underwood manual typewriter, which itself makes for surprising complications and, occasionally, solutions.

When former lover Naomi Miller seeks Shade's help proving her father innocent of murdering her mother though the crime was captured on surveillance cameras, his feelings get in the way. Of course the case isn't as simple as it seems. A set of three crystals is the key to resurrecting a powerful wizard, and it's missing. Naomi is a low-level wizard. Her parents, who worked for an engineering firm fronting for wizardly hijinks, are also wizards as are most of their coworkers. When Naomi's father commits jailhouse suicide, Shade is thrust into rapidly escalating danger, not least of which is brought about by seemingly indestructible killer warriors, the Sekutar. Only Kelly, herself one of the gene-magically enhanced killing machines, can hope to keep Jonathan alive as he joins in the hunt for the crystals in an attempt to defeat the powerful, rather-hip-if-also-evil Ravenwood, and to make sense of the lower wizards' power-play while sections of Denver become collateral damage to all the unleashed magic.

While strong comparisons can be made to Butcher's Dresden Files novels, on the print side, Modern Sorcery is more reminiscent of Simon Green's Nightside books, and (I'll go out on a limb here) it also puts me in mind of the excellent film "Cast a Deadly Spell" (not so much its lesser sequel, "Witch Hunt"), though it avoids the Lovecraft milieu, preferring a more business-like hardboiled noir - mixed with the Honk Kong action movies approach, as well as a far cheesier "Warlock." Think of it as a magic-driven "Maltese Falcon" where instead of a bird statuette everyone's hunting the three crystals while fighting off a sorcerous Gutman. There's a nice nod to themes such as giving something up and moving on, and what's truly important (friendship). It's a winning combination of elements - further adventures of Jonathan Shade and his crew are expected, and welcome.

--W.D. Gagliani, author of Wolf's Edge
I generally like urban fantasy books that try to meld noir conventions with magic and wizardry. This one does a very good job on that score.

The plot has lots of twists and turns, the femme is hot and devious, the hero is a quick thinking smartmouth with a handicap/advantage, (he can't use magic but he's also immune to its effects). There's a great cast of villains and henchmen; there are two excellent and entertaining side kicks and a bunch of stand up supporting characters. Lots of action, and double crosses beyond count.

The patter is sometimes forced and/or predictable, but there are enough satisfying zingers and enough clever throwaway business to make this a very entertaining read. If your taste runs to fantasy-detective stories and you'd like a break from the more angsty Dresden style or the extremely graphic/violent style, (this book doesn't focus on graphic mayhem, just par for the course mayhem), then this book, (and the entire series), could be a nice choice.
(Please note that I found this book a while ago while browsing Amazon Kindle freebies. It is currently a kindleunlimited choice. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Lahorns Gods
Excellent urban noir fantasy. The world is solid and complex, and best of all, the author doesn't spend chapters detailing every way the book's world differs from our own.

The characters are well done, with enough questions and hints to let us know there's a lot more to them than might be visible in this particular story. And sadly, or oddly, it's these characters that cost the book a star. Mostly the main character, Shade...I get really tired of gritty investigator tough guys who constantly get their butt kicked. There's a lot of fighting and action, and in virtually every instance, Shade gets his butt kicked and has to be rescued. Every once in a while would be fine, but every fight? C'mon, Mr Jonas.

Secondly...Kelly. Wonderful, awesome character...until the last two pages. For the entire book, she *has* Shade's back. The one person he can trust absolutely. Sure, she's a magically engineered warrior who lives to kick butt and kill things, but she is Shade's...well, `partner' is such a tame word. They're bonded, and she will do anything for him...even smack him when he needs it.

So it seriously offended me that in the last two pages, she betrays everything we thought we knew about her...because the bad guy was cute. The Kelly we interacted with for the vast majority of the book would never consider it: that cute guy would be dead. Sure, it may have seemed a nice funny twist to throw in, lighten up the Drama, but it absolutely did not fit with the story OR with Kelly's personality. For most of the book she's willing and ready to kill Naomi...because she's a wizard, because she broke Shade's heart, whatever...but the guy who tried and almost succeeded in killing Shade several times? Let's date him!

The Kelly we grew to know would NEVER have let him live even if he'd surrendered and cried like a baby. Naomi MAY have betrayed them and she was barely kept from killing her. This guy actively worked to kill them and almost succeeded. Yeah, sure, dating him sounds like a viable alternative. That little twist, lighthearted as it may have been intended, calls her entire character into question and her loyalty to Shade is more than suspect. If the main bad guy had smiled at her and said he didn't want to fight her, would they have dated? Why not? She's okay with dating his main enforcer who did horrible things in his name.

It would have been a solid 5 stars, even with Shade being as effective as a damp mop when it comes to fighting, but those last few pages after the main climax prevent it. Kelly's betrayal...and don't kid yourself, it *is* a betrayal...and Shade's odd complacency regarding it lose a star.