Hard Spell (An Occult Crimes Investigation Series Book 1)

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Justin Gustainis : www. Discuss and Review Evil Dark at Goodreads. Read, download, share and embed via Issuu. Parker, Criminal Element. Justin Gustainis has made it onto my must-read-author list and I look forward to what he has in store for us next. You must be logged in to post a comment. Tweets by angryrobotbooks.

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Thank you! Our hero hates vamps. I'm sure there's a backstory here that will be revealed to the new partner in due time eyeroll.

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At the scene, a mysterious gentleman appears who seems to know almost everything about the case, but wants information. In order to trade, he points them in a couple of directions "check the forensics on the wound for the type of instrument. It turns out he's Master of the City supernatural in chief, or The Man, as our team decides to call him. Calling the head bad guy "The Man" was a plot used in Alias, in the guest episode with Quentin Tarantino, so all I could think about it when they said it was Quentin in a suit saying "The Man wants Which reminds me of another silly scene: our hero going through his voicemail step by step.

Yes, you read that right. Including dialogue from VM prompt lady, which is truly annoying when I have to listen to it, nevermind read it. No chuckles there, Gustainis. Since this is a hard-boiled detective story, there's a mandatory stop in a lesbian bar to ogle a woman tell a vamp who has been putting the whammy on the clientele to lay low. They scare her off by mentioning The Man. While our heroes wonder in passing why such a hot beauty needs to use vamp hypnotism, they consider it adequate proof that The Man does in fact wield power among the supernaturals.

There is also the requisite attempts on the lives of the detectives, first by car-dash hula girl Medusa, which is the best booby haha! There's a ghoul informant, and a source that doesn't want to share information until they save his life, for which they gratefully endanger him again of course! There's the required hard-ass Captain who does just about everything but asks for their shields, until he changes his mind and gives them full and unconditional support, including a magic key well, not majick, as Richard would say, but it does open the SWAT lockers.

  • Diegos First Haircut (I am a STAR Personalized Book Series 1);
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That deserved a star right there. I liked the self-referential black sharpshooter "Don't you read the comics, man?

You ever see a bunch of badass superheroes like this without a brother on the crew? My one serious note of appreciation is how Gustainis was willing to have Stan make some hard choices with some emotional fallout.

I expected one of them and was surprised by the last, so that's the kind of thing that levitates the plot a few inches above it's competition. For a campy book, it does a nice job of balancing the emotion with the action. Although some reviews claim both sexism and vulgarity, I have to say I didn't find it particularly offensive, perhaps because this is a book that is hard to take seriously. And perhaps because Stan's kind of sexism reminds me of someone's aging dad--a little bit oinkish but ultimately scared respectful of women, as evidenced by his behavior with the female detective of a neighboring town.

Likewise the accusation of vulgarity--I thought the epithets were extreme strictly for the outrageousness--it's a cop book, right?

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  8. So they've got to swear. Occasionally, I had the nagging feeling I was reading an as seen on tv! Okay, so maybe I'd watch the first few episodes, or at least until the network cancelled it.

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    And if I had a paper to write. View all 15 comments. Feb 07, Jeffrey Keeten rated it liked it. This is the city--Scranton, Pennsylvania. I carry a badge. Also a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm This is the city--Scranton, Pennsylvania. Also a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets. Especially if you plan to keep on living. The tough guy platitudes that are sprinkled throughout just about every conversation in this book are ones we have all heard and dare I say might be on purpose as a Justin Gustainis nod to a bygone era of pulp magazines and tough guy TV shows.

    A department that gets a lot of latitude given the nature of the cases they are asked to investigate. When vampires start showing up dead by creative means and have ancient symbols carved into their bodies he is of two minds about the case. The case is messy from the start. His new partner Karl Renfer is one of those people blessed with the ability to read people and say the right things at the right time. They have to accept the help of a year old vampire who happens to be a very rare species indeed. He is also a wizard. Vollman comes across as a tame, cultured creature, but when Stan pushes him too hard his true nature, that darkness that has replaced his soul, uncoils.

    Vollman raised his head and looked at me. Gustainis populates the novel with characters that really give the novel a bit more depth. There is a ghoul informant that has a brother who likes to flash his weiner at unsuspecting women. Markowski offers to help keep his brother out of jail, yet again, for information. I guess in the greater scheme of things, in Scranton, a weiner swinging ghoul is the least of their worries.

    I can only hope that Gustainis gets this group more involved with the plot in the next novel. How cool is that?

    Series: Occult Crimes Unit Investigation

    Nice puppy There is a Jesuit named Garrett packing a flamethrower and Shiro Kyotake a edged-weapons specialist along with several other highly trained and specialized members that would be interesting to see utilized in future books. Rachel Proctor is a witch employed by the department. Markowski, out of leads, convinces her to help him raise the spirit of one of the dead again vampires to find out who killed them.

    This has disastrous results when she is taken over by the spirit of a malicious, vindictive wizard vampire. Markowski packing plenty of guilt from his life already, stacks on a bit more. There are a pair of Inquisition loving preachers who are moonlighting as witch hunters. If I had been Markowski I would have introduced that duo to Daisy. Creepy witch hunting preacher x 2. There is a Lacey Brennan an occult crimes detective from nearby town that is brought into the case.

    She is not only gorgeous, but also shows a decided interest in getting to know Markowski more intimately. She starts every conversation with a stale joke along the lines of How many vampires does it take to screw in a lightbulb? I was never bored. Gustainis keeps the pages turning and has built a world with potential to just keep getting better and better with each new novel.

    What review isn't improved with a picture of Michelle Gellar? My Scranton traveling companion of choice. I will definitely be checking out the second book in the series. Recommended for a stress reducer, or if you are fighting the flu, or if you just want a break from an unpleasant task. View all 14 comments. The city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts — vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon.

    There are witches who use black magic, a vampire is likely to bite an unwilling victim especially if he thinks he can get away with it and goblins have developed a liking for bank robberies and meth. The Occult The city of Scranton, Pennsylvania abounds with supernatural beings of all sorts — vampires, werewolves, ghouls, wizards and the occasional demon. The Occult Crime Unit, where only the best and the craziest detectives can find their place, was formed to deal with such cases.

    My name is Markowski. When a wizard turned vampire gets killed in the most gruesome way, detective Stanley Markowski and his new partner are called to investigate. As it turns out, the vampire was the keeper of an incredibly dangerous book called Opus Mago. Whenever I discover an exciting new urban fantasy series, I feel like a child on Christmas morning.


    I have to be honest here: I was a little skeptical when I requested Hard Spell. I thought it might be ok at best, but I never even considered the possibility that it would be this good. View all 20 comments.

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    Imagine a supernatural stereotype. You can probably find it here. I thought I'd like this more than I did. I have to try very hard to think of characters from other books that talk more than these do. A reader needs an explanation? Two people start talking about a thing even though they both know about it. World information? There is a small flood of info-dumping in the beginning, but it is later spread equally throughout the book conversations, Markowski's inner thoughts and so on.