Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

Hard Spell is an urban fantasy crime that follows a police detective Stan Markowski, a member of the Occult and Supernatural Crimes Investigation Unit. They investigate all crimes by the supernatural or against them. We meet Stan and his partner as they are trying to negotiate a hostage situation. A couple goblins high on Meth are holding a convenience store clerk and a customer. The situation requires some unique negotiating techniques.

The story then shifts to Stan getting called to a murder. The victim appears to be, or had been a wizard. He was tortured rather gruesomely for the location of his safe and then put to death. Turns out what he was guarding was a magical book worth fearing. Shortly after the murder, vampires start turning up dead, with strange symbols carved in them. The magical book could cause end of the world type trouble and Stan and his partner get to try and prevent the Apocalypse.

Overall, I found Hard Spell to be great fun. The book does deal with hard crimes, but with the supernatural in the mix the subject matter becomes a bit lighter and less serious. There was a bit of humor and a lot of action. The main character was fairly decently drawn and the story flowed well. I thought it was a good book and eagerly await the next in the series.

Rating: 4/5

Check out our review of Those Who Fight Monsters, also by Justin Gustainis

Caleb is a software engineer and amature woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Justin Gustainis. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.