My original review for Hard Spell was supposed to be posted back when Justin Gustainis did a guest post in August. I'm not sure what happened, only that somehow Blogger ate the post and I never checked on the status. As I was trying (mostly in vain) to clear my computer area and organize the enormous backlog of books, I came across a note reminding me to put my review up at Goodreads. Only when I checked, no review was found. So, my apologies to the author for messing that up because I'm not always a airhead and because I truly enjoyed the book. The review will be posted at VampChix and at Goodreads...and I've double checked this time!
Meet Stan Markowski of the Scranton PD’s Occult Crimes Unit
“Like the rest of America, Scranton’s got an uneasy ‘live and let unlive’ relationship with the supernatural. But when a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that’s when they call me.
“My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge.
“Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.”
Stan isn't the nicest guy. He doesn't always say or do the nicest things. So why do I like him so much? Over the course of Hard Spell he goes from being a sarcastic jerk cop to being a father that has been forced to make very difficult decisions, and struggles every single day with the outcome. Stan is a hard nosed detective that investigates crimes involving vampires and other supernatural beings. He's very good at his job and has made more than a few enemies. Stan also has a reputation for speaking his mind and taking on the bad guys head on. His sarcasm, attitude, and foul mouth are hysterical, and actually make him a more likeable guy. Yes, Stan could use a course, or twenty, on manners...remember that attitude I mentioned? Not everyone he meets likes it. But I have to say, I am rather fond of Stan.
It's not just the characters that make Hard Spell a stand out novel either. The criminal element was well planned and developed, horrific without being too over-the-top. I thought the depiction of a world full of monsters was believable as well. Sort of CSI (the Las Vegas version) meets True Blood (minus the sex). I'd love to read more. Truthfully, Hard Spell was part of my Top 10 for 2011 and I highly recommend the book to anyone wanting a taste of a different type of vampire/monster novel. Justin Gustainis was one of the few authors last year that made me want to read about non-romantic vampires, like Jon Merz and his Lawson stories.
Hard Spell is the first Occult Crimes Unit Investigation. The sequel, Evil Dark, is coming April 2012. Hooray!!