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Now you see it, now you don't: Swain, a magician himself, takes the concept of a psychic conjurer pursued by dark spirits and spins it into pedestrian straw in this supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2012's Dark Magic. Magician Peter Warlock, who was born with an internal demon that he struggles to control, lives in parallel worlds of good and evil. Amorphous "shadow people" shanghai him into the near future, where he pursues "Dr. Death," a serial killer of women who do good deeds. Back in his own time, Peter, supported by nonpsychic girlfriend and stage assistant Liza and FBI agent Garrison, fends off his own destructive impulses, the forces of Satan, and the spells of a lustful young witch. Lame dialogue, flat characterizations, partially undigested lumps of stage magic history, and lapses in credibility (how could a tattoo artist embellish 90% of his own body?) reveal the creaky apparatus behind this ambitious but unconvincing fictional sleight-of-hand. Agent: Robin Rue, Writer's House. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Psychic Peter Warlock's act as a stage magician is a cover for his use of real magic. That cover is nearly blown when a dark spirit known as a "shadow person" kidnaps his assistant in the middle of a show and drags Peter into the hunt for a demon-possessed serial killer. It's a race against time that pits Peter and his friends, the Friday Night Psychics, against his old enemies, the Order of Astrum, while Peter tries to decide if he can have a long-term relationship with a woman who knows about his powers but isn't part of the supernatural world. If Peter doesn't figure out the serial killer's real agenda, though, he won't have to worry about the long-term of anything. VERDICT Swain's sequel to Dark Magic has all the hallmarks of the middle book in a trilogy. The demon-possessed serial killer is merely a pawn of higher powers, and so is Peter. It's all a test. There had better be another volume, as the book ends on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. Still it's an enjoyable way for readers who liked the first book or who await Jim Butcher's next "Dresden Files" entry.-Marlene Harris, Seattle P.L. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Magician and psychic Peter Warlock has a full plate again (Dark Magic, 2012). He's seen and nearly been killed by a serial killer preparing for his next murder, but Peter doesn't know his name or whereabouts. He knows only that the next victim is named Rachel. Liza, his lover, has only recently learned of his psychic gifts, and she's having difficulty adjusting, especially to the threats from shadow people ghostly beings allied with the killer. Holly, a college-age witch whom Peter once babysat, is madly in love with him, and Peter knows well that the emotions of a witch are not to be trifled with. On top of these difficulties, he's learning dark truths about his own boyhood and the murder of his parents. Swain, who has two successful private-eye series to his credit, has dropped the ball with this one. The narrative and dialogue are leaden, and the characters are as insubstantial as the wispy beings who menace the hero. Still, for devotees of paranormal thrillers, it may still merit a look.--Gaughan, Thomas Copyright 2010 Booklist