Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Flash of Hex-Jes Battis

A Flash of Hex
Jes Battis
Ace, May 26 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441017232

On an alternate earth, materia (magic) is very common) and those who possess it are brought into CORE (the Conservatory of Mage and Others); there job is to police the supernatural community; especially demons, half-demons, necromancers, and other practitioners of dark magic. Tess Corday is an Occult Special Investigator, who, with her gay partner Derrick make a great investigative team. Mia, Tess’s ward, has the VB-positive (vampire retrovirus) and is taking medicine to keep from turning. She knows her family investigates supernatural crimes, but their current one is perhaps the most gruesome yet.

Tess and Derrick go to an apartment where they find the body of a teen floating upside down from the ceiling. He bled out from his carotid artery dripping into a cauldron. The victim is the son of Devorah Kynan, a very powerful mage, who pressures the OCI to find her son’s killer. Four other teenage offspring of mages were killed in the last few weeks in a similar fashion. It looks like a magical entity is carrying out a serial killing ritual and needs to be stooped before it completes its task. Tess has to deal with Mr.Corvid, a pureblood demon raised in another realm. He tells her the answers are in her mind if she would only look inside; to do this she would need to take the highly addicted hallucinogenic drug Hex. She gets some answers from her childhood past when she signed up for CORE and now she needs to put the pieces together and find the entity before it kills again

Urban fantasy is obviously in and perhaps satiating the market, but sub-genre fans will relish A FLASH OF HEX, an exciting police procedural with deep fascinating characters who make the world of Battis seem genuine. The tale is loaded with suspense even when Tess learns more about herself than she ever wanted to know. The support cast is filled with flawed characters that enhance the realm, but the bottom line remains this is Tess’ tale as she and Derrick go after a supernatural serial killer.

Harriet Klausner

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