by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details on how to win a copy of Broken Souls at the end of this review, along with a link to purchase it where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Eric Carter is back in LA after a fifteen-year absence (a revenge-killing forced him to leave), a mage with a power problem. He’s able to do things he couldn’t do before, maybe because he’s now married to Santa Muerte/Mictecacihuatl, the patron saint/Aztec goddess of Death. He longs for the widow of his best friend, Alex, but she can’t get over the fact that Eric put a bullet through Alex’s head. Oddly enough, Alex is now visiting Eric with advice that nobody else can see or hear, so Eric is doubting his own sanity. On top of that, somebody with an obsidian knife is skinning people and assuming their personalities, memories, and powers.
Stephen Blackmoore’s Broken Souls is a noir-magic mystery with some seriously bizarre action sequences. Russians changing identities, paper-based spells with killing force, gang warfare, animation of groups of the dead, building destruction, rapid-transit commuters, and talking to the Santa Ana winds. This is a foray into a lot of Meso-American mythology, with gods and goddesses with long names, nasty knives, passages into the earth, dead conquistadores, and lots of jade. A feisty bruja (Mexican-American witch) with a social-worker outreach for vampires and street-gang backup joins forces with Eric, and damage ensues.
Los Angeles is a part of the story, from the downtown’s under-freeway warehouses to the desert sands, the ghosts of old buildings to the domes of the Griffith Park Observatory. For me, parts of it were nostalgic memories, while other scenes were a guided tour of the new.
Eric faces many mysteries – why did Santa Muerte marry him, and what does she want? Who is this Russian, and why does he want to wear Eric like a suit? Who is the female Russian with the deadly littering habit? How did he get massive powers that, when he uses them, hit him like a heart attack? Who/what is the Alex who keeps appearing to him? Ghost, hallucination, or a lure into a trap?
Eric is a tough-talking mage with a lot of problems. The reader’s problem is finding uninterrupted time to devour this addictive novel by Blackmoore (City of the Lost, Dead Things). Food, sleep, and work – they’ll just get in the way. This is a book you’ll want to finish…and then you’ll have to wait for the next one.
To enter to win a copy of Broken Souls, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Broken,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 30, 2014. U.S. residents only.
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Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL:
We have a winner
Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher