Hex and violence

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Paul Kirkley When not writ­ing and work­ing in a dat­a­cen­tre, Peter McLean is a stu­dent of Taoist kung fu and prac­ti­cal magic.

re­leased 7 Jan­uary 400 pages | Pa­per­back/ebook Au­thor Peter Mclean Pub­lisher an­gry robot

What con­nects Ray­mond Chan­dler, Guy Ritchie, Harry Pot­ter and Buffy The Vam­pire Slayer? “Not much” is prob­a­bly the an­swer. Un­til now.

At first glance, Don Drake, the epony­mous an­ti­hero of Peter McLean’s punchy de­but novel, ap­pears to be your clas­sic hard­boiled, whisky-soaked gumshoe. But he’s not a de­tec­tive at all: he’s an oc­cultist hit­man who uses the dark arts to rub out his vic­tims, and in­stead of the boule­vards and speakeasies of LA, his beat is the mean streets of South Lon­don.

Har­ness­ing the power of the Burned Man – a tiny, sew­er­mouthed cock­ney fetish who sum­mons fe­ro­cious demons while ef­fin’ and jef­fin’ like a minia­ture Danny Dyer – to pay off a gam­bling debt, Drake finds him­self drawn into a gang­land turf war with lit­er­ally hellish con­se­quences.

At times, the book’s hard-bit­ten cyn­i­cism bor­ders on the sadis­tic, not least dur­ing the lengthy vi­o­lent in­ter­ludes. But as Drake fi­nally dis­cov­ers his moral com­pass and sides with the an­gels (specif­i­cally, a gor­geous blonde an­gel in kit­ten heels who carves her en­e­mies up with a sword), the stage is set for a show­down be­tween good and evil that will have you cheer­ing for this un­likely cham­pion, de­spite your­self.

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