Domino Finn—a great writer and author of the Sycamore Moon Series—just released the first book in a brand new series, entitled Dead Man (Black Magic Outlaw Book 1). I had the privilege of reading an early copy, and I really enjoyed the heck out of this book. It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Domino’s work, but this book may have been the one I enjoyed the most. It’s very Dresdenesque (first person and witty) while still being original.
Dead Man: Black Magic Outlaw Book 1 (from the back cover):
I’m Cisco Suarez: necromancer, shadow charmer, black magic outlaw. Sounds kinda cool, doesn’t it? It was, right until I woke up half dead in a dumpster.
Did I say half dead? Because I meant 100% dead. Full on. I don’t do things halfway.
So here I am, alive for some reason, just another sunny day in Miami. It’s a perfect paradise, except I’m into something bad. Wanted by police, drenched in the stink of dark magic, nether creatures coming out of the woodwork, and don’t get me started on the Haitian voodoo gang. Trust me, it’s all fun and games until there’s a zombie pit bull on your tail.
I’m Cisco Suarez: necromancer, shadow charmer, black magic outlaw, and totally screwed.
The MC: The main character is a twenty-something necromancer named Cisco; he’s slick, badass, and Cuban. Despite being a hard-charger with some seriously cool black-magic chops, Cisco is fun to hang out with. Damaged with a troubled history, yes, but not too jaded or world weary to be annoying. He’s a man whose made some serious mistakes, but still has the refreshing, idealistic nature of a college-aged kid who is really trying to set things right. Cisco has a bit of an attitude, but a good heart, and his powers are formidable, without ever treading into the realm of over-powered. As a necromancer he has a certain affinity with the dead—conjuring zombies, say, or viewing the final moments of a corpse—and as a shadow charmer he can manipulate … well, shadows. He can slip into and out them, phasing under doors, or fashioning weapons from inky pools of shade. Cool stuff, plus he’s got some other nifty talents to boot.
The World: The world building is pretty grounded in this one. Solid urban fantasy that takes place in Miami—which Finn brings to life with an expert hand (guy clearly knows Miami well). It’s a world that feels very close to our own; the supernatural exists, as does magic, but it’s a bit subtler than many of the urban fantasy books out there. The magic is pretty-sick and pulled me along.
The Story and Writing: I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It’s a classic adventure/mystery featuring a cool character who starts the story with amnesia. Poor Cisco wakes up in a dumpster after being murdered and things only go downhill from there. As to the writing—Finn’s a great writer. Period. His prose is always tight without being Spartan, and super clean in terms of editing. This story is faster paced and more action oriented then some of his other works, but he keeps a nice balance and gives us some much needed breathing room throughout the story.
The Rating: Five stars. This book is exactly the kind of urban fantasy I dig: fast, funny, action-packed, without getting bogged down by too much sentimental romance. Buy it here: Dead Man