Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells
Series: The Prospero's War #1
Published by Orbit
Published on: January 21 2014
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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The first in an all-new urban fantasy series by USA Todaybestseller Jaye Wells.
The last thing patrol cop Kate Prospero expected to find on her nightly rounds was a werewolf covered in the blood of his latest victim. But then, she also didn't expect that shooting him would land her in the crosshairs of a Magic Enforcement Agency task force, who wants to know why she killed their lead snitch.
The more Prospero learns about the dangerous new potion the MEA is investigating, the more she's convinced that earning a spot on their task force is the career break she's been wanting. But getting the assignment proves much easier than solving the case. Especially once the investigation reveals their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier—on the same day she swore she'd never use dirty magic again.
Kate Prospero's about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should be never say never.
I’m surprised I ended up reading Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells. My TBR list is out of control, and while I read most of Wells’ Sabina Kane series, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I liked the MCs and the plot, and I think the first time I ever got chills from the mention of a specific song in a book was when Voodoo by Godsmack was playing in the background of the vamp club in Red-Headed Stepchild . . .
BUT . . . it was a little too crass for me. Having a sex-fiend of a demon side-kick will do that, I guess. Anyway, I think I read all but the last book in the series and again, I liked them, but I still haven’t gotten around to finishing it.
Then a week or so ago, I ran across the EXTENDED FREE PREVIEW for Dirty Magic on Amazon, and I downloaded it. Then I thought, nah, and deleted it. Then I got bored and needed a break from my reread, so I re-downloaded it.
And I read it.
And then I spent all of the time from then until the Tuesday it actually came out chewing my fingernails, waiting, waiting, waiting, b/c the second I finished the preview, I pre-ordered the book.
I. Had. To. Have. It.
And it was quite a departure from her last series.
Kate Prospero lives in a world overrun with magic. There’s “clean” magic that the rich can buy in potion form to make themselves more attractive, smarter, faster, more virile . . . and then there’s dirty magic cooked on the streets and distributed by cartel-like organizations for the rest of the population. Kate grew up as the dirty magic heiress, groomed by her uncle to take over his empire one day, but when a family tragedy occurs, she wants out, and she takes her kid brother with her.
Compelled to pay her debt to society, she becomes a cop. But after nearly five years she’s still working the beat with no promotions in sight—cops are mostly mundanes (non-magical) and as ever, they fear what they don’t understand.
So Kate’s barely scraping by when her world is turned further upside down by being forced to kill a jacked-up magic (ab)user when said junky attacks and tries to eat (yes, EAT) her. Junky is then revealed to be a CI for the book’s version of the CIA/FBI/DEA/WHATEVS and Kate decides that she absolutely MUST be involved in the case trying to hunt down the new drug’s origins. She’s tired of arresting dime-a-dozen dealers, and desperate to be involved in something that could actually make a difference. After some unconvincing grumbling, her superiors put her on the task force, but only after one of Kate’s own informants insinuates that her ex-boyfriend/adolescent love-of-her-life who has also left behind his nefarious beginnings in the same underground crime ring, only to become a successful business man (rather than beat cop), is responsible for putting the new taste-for-flesh-inducing drug on the streets.
So that’s the basic premise.
And it’s good. Really good. In Dirty Magic, Wells manages to walk that fine line between gritty and vulgar that I felt got crossed so many times in the Sabina Kane series.
Wells also has a way of describing the incredibly vivid characters she creates so that you feel like you know them. You stand behind them in the check-out at the grocery store, and you hold their door open as you’re leaving your workplace. They’re a dime a dozen, and yet her tiny details work together to form a whole that is breathtakingly REAL. From Kate’s teenage brother angrily declaring, “It’s just a book. Jesus, don’t be such a fascist,” to the little-old-lady neighbor and friends who, “often got together for such activities as quilting, making scrapbooks, and casting revenge spells under the full moon,” I was groaning in commiseration when I wasn’t snorting with laughter.
And then there are the ever-present Alpha males. Ex-boyfriend is one, and new MEA partner is definitely one, to the tune of, “He looked like the kind of guy whose cologne was made from gasoline and whiskey.”
Sigh . . . dreamy sigh . . .
Book 2 is set TBR in August, and I CANNOT wait.