Narrator: Jeff Hays
Series: Ghosts & Magic #1
Published by Quirky Algorithms on 14 August 2014
Length: 9 hrs and 53 mins
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
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Small-time thief and hitman Conor Night thinks having terminal cancer is his worst problem. The illegal treatments keeping him alive are expensive, and the side effects a mixed bag:
Conor can raise the dead.
When a low-end hit points to a high-end job, Conor is suspicious, but it's an opportunity he can't afford to ignore. Armed with a set of soul-sucking ancient dice, a collection of corpses, and the estranged daughter of one of the most powerful wizards on Earth, it will take all of his wit, charm, and magic to navigate the treacherous world of the dominant Houses and either finish the job, or be finished himself.
He's got 99 problems, and dying is only one.
©2014 Michael Forbes (P)2014 Michael Forbes
Conor Night is a necromancer, a hitman, and cancer patient. The illegal treatments keeping him alive are risky and expensive. Hence, the need to do odd jobs like thievery and the occasional murder. Lucky for him, he had a great instructor, Dani, who is still around to keep him organized; and he has his corpses, some of which are more useful than others.
A few weeks ago, I listened to the prequel, Dead Lucky, and really enjoyed it. This book follows that up with even more awesomeness. Set roughly 3 years after Conor was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he’s gone to great lengths to keep himself alive. He’s not proud of all that he has done but he is dead set on providing for the family he walked away from. He was lucky to have Dani find him back then, drunk and beaten. She was already a Ghost, having the special skills and training to pull off the difficult jobs no one wants to talk about but so many have a need for. Now Conor too is a Ghost. He’s a complicated character who usually chooses the right thing to do even if it is a difficult path. Yet he is always tormented by the few bad deeds he has done.
Conor isn’t your typical hero. He’s unhealthy. He’s not some hunky hero with a good haircut and abs to die for. Nope. He’s got determination, weapon skills, a reasonable IQ, and his rough humor to carry him forward. I was fascinated by his relationship with Dani in Dead Lucky and that fascination carries over to this book as well. Toss in another potential romantic interest and we see flashes of the tender side to Conor.
The author tosses you into the action, but then provides this rich background for the characters in conversations or small flashbacks as a character mulls over a situation. The job Conor signed on for morphs into something much bigger. There’s mystery and some double dealing. Toss in a few mysterious magic users, a pack of werewolves, a touch of romance, some cyberpunkian info gathering and you have quite the ride!
These fascinating characters, several of which are multifaceted, are set in this future world populated by magical creatures – ogres, werewolves, vampires, etc. The solid plot line makes room for all of that while keeping the story moving forward. There was a very unexpected twist near the end that had me talking back to the book (mostly saying NO! and such). It was well done and it made total sense for the plot. This is an excellent addition to the urban fantasy genre.
Narration: Jeff Hays was once again excellent to listen to. His somewhat gravelly voice for Connor was perfect, again. He had some coughing fits (in line with the character) that he tossed in here and there, making Conor’s illness that much realer. Late in the story there is a ghostly element that speaks with a chorus of voices and Hays did some masterful sound magic there! I swear, the hairs on the back of my neck went up when I heard that chorus! Hays also has an amazing range of female character voices. I especially like his voice for Dani, being sharp and precise and yet somewhat loving all at the same time.
This review originally appeared on Dab of Darkness