Seeking Dr. Magic by Scott Spotson – 5 stars
Chaos reigns around the world. Strange creatures, accorded the title “Phantom Ninjas” by the media, are leaping off tall buildings and somersaulting back up without any scratch – and then disappear. There follows more spontaneous acts of magic, confounding the world. Who – or what – is responsible? In the middle of the mystery arrives Detective Hetfield, a private investigator just recently released from the FBI due to an on-the-job injury. Hetfield, who arose to fame as a star witness in the murder trial of a beloved actress, uses the media to put forward the theory that a person of extraordinary magical powers is behind all the incidents, and labels him Dr. Magic. Hetfield gets much more than what he bargained for when that powerful being does exist – in the form of a young man long disillusioned with his past – and cruelly takes him up on his offer.
I really enjoyed this curious and clever book. The meat of the story is, in many ways, about the old adage of being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it, along with a discussion of how power can corrupt, which is a recurring theme in the author’s work.
I would be lying if I said that I liked Tony Hetfield right off the bat. He’s kind of an ass at the beginning. As I got to know him, though, I found him to be worthy of my sympathy and enjoyable to ride along with. The other characters, being less important, were less interesting and rounded, but that didn’t detract from the story. Dr. Magic himself was very well done.
This book was definitely worth my time. I rather wished it was longer. It’s hard to pin down for genre recommendations – it’s got magic and is set in the modern world, but isn’t urban fantasy. It’s got mystery and suspense elements, but isn’t a mystery. Speculative fiction is the best I can think of explain what it is. Regardless, I think most people would enjoy this quick read.