Publisher: Blood & Treasure (2015)
Length: 296 pages
Series: Book 1 Black Magic Outlaw
Cisco Suarez, necromancer and a wee bit of a dumb ass, wakes up in a dumpster. Wait. Can the dead wake? Cisco is full on dead and he’s none too happy to learn about it, especially since a variety of folks are set on seeing him dead. Again.
The Miami heat can be harsh, especially if you’re already prone to giving off body odor. Cisco needs info and the first person he runs into that he knows is Milena, who was his sister Seleste’s BFF. Cisco soon learns what tragedy befell his family and he’s heart broken and ticked off all at the same time.
The Haitian gang, The Bone Saints, are after him and he’s not too sure why. They have a new leader, Baptiste, who is dead set on ending Cisco’ second life. Cisco has few options so he calls upon his friends for info and aide. There’s the Norwegian biker tattoo artist Kasper, his boyhood school friend Evan Cross (who’s as straight laced as you can get), and his buddy in studying the dark arts Martine. Unfortunately, Cisco will get less aide tham he hoped for and more info than he can easily handle.
This is a wonderful nitty gritty urban fantasy detective story. Miami provides the author with the opportunity to mix in several cultures and languages. Of course, I loved all the food references. Cisco has that interesting mix of boyish charm, machismo, underdog, do-gooder, and more power than he can easily handle. It made for a fascinating character set in a place that ties together several cultures, and hence, several mythologies.
I often found myself cheering on this necromancer, which is not something I have done often. I mean, it’s just wrong to mess with the dead, right? But Cisco made me see the right of it. After all, there’s utilizing the dead for a higher purpose and then there’s abusing your necromancer privileges. Cisco sometimes walks a fine line, but that only added to the tension and enjoyment of the story.
My one quibble is the ladies. They are few and far between and mostly are comforters and sex objects. Now part of that is how Cisco sees the world, so I can see that adding to the character’s personality, but the ladies as a whole aren’t well represented. Martine has some skills in necromancy, but she has a pretty small role. Max, a body guard, I think has like 5 lines for the entire book and is one-dimensional. Seleste gets a nod and Milena has the largest role mostly because Cisco spends plenty of time admiring her figure. There’s an od girlfriend who also gets a nod but must be protected from the truth as she’s too fragile to handle it. It’s modern-day Miami, which is known for a lot of things, including their bad ass women (for example the numerous ladies from the series Dexter). Alas, this book was lacking in this regard.
With that said, it was still a very engaging story and an excellent addition to the urban fantasy genre. Apparently, the dead can be used more creatively than I expected. The balance of humor and serious points kept me on Cisco’s side throughout the book.
I received this book as a gift from the author with no strings attached.
What I Liked: Almost a noir detective feel to it; the cover art; Cisco is a very interesting character; great mix of cultures and mythologies; food references; the humor; the serious points; ready for Book 2.
What I Disliked: The ladies are little sidenotes in this adventure.
What Others Think: