Published 2009 309 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Supernatural investigator Quincey Morris and his partner, Libby Chastain, investigate a series of murders where white witches are being hunted and killed – and Libby may be next on the list. From Iraq to America, a trail of clues is pointing to eccentric billionaire, Walter Grobius, a man fascinated with a devastating evil that can be traced back to biblical times.
What’s more, it seems he may well be involved in a sick scheme for white supremacy across the USA, and Morris and Chastain find themselves in their most epic case as they look to prevent the apocalypse from being unleashed…
Evil Ways is the second Quincey Morris investigation novel by Justin Gustainis although this book is actually referred to as a “Morris and Chastain Investigation”, giving Libby’s character an equal billing with Quincey’s – which is fair since she does an equal amount of the work in this investigation!
Black Magic Woman, the first book in this series, introduced readers to Quincey and Libby as they tracked down a black witch who was harvesting the body parts of children for black magic rituals. The books work really well as stand alone stories – so you don’t need to have read Black Magic Woman before starting Evil Ways. Although you might want to since Black Magic Woman is a cracking good read…
Evil Ways is narrated in third person from multiple points of view which in some ways gives it the feel of a crime thriller and allows the story to build up from seemingly unconnected events as the book’s victims, villains and heroes all have their say. A large amount of urban fantasy novels on the market today are written in first person, so Evil Ways makes a refreshing change with its fast moving locations, plot-lines and character perspectives.
Evil Ways has no shortage of fantasy action either with a much stronger emphasis on the magic, witch and wizard elements of this story than in Black Magic Woman. Quincey has his hands full investigating a series of child murders (with missing body parts once again taken for black magic rituals) at the same time as Libby is trying to dodge attempts on her life by professional killers sent by parties unknown. However, the events soon appear to be connected once Libby and Quincey team up to investigate.
While Evil Ways can not be criticised for it pace, construction or characters – it isn’t without its faults. The story is driven forward at a great pace and while story grips and pages are compulsively turned it is great - but once the novel reaches its climax there is a definite “huh?” moment when reviewing the critical actions of the characters that have lead up to the final turn of events. Disbelief is always suspended in a fantasy novel but even my elastic disbelief was stretched too thin because upon reflection the pivotal actions of Colleen and Libby are convenient for the story line but seem unlikely for the characters.
Poor editing means the villains’ lair moves from Idaho to Iowa and back again during the course of the story which left this reader scratching their head until they realised that this was an editing error. Also, I’m still not sure what part of the story is referred to by the “sick scheme for white supremacy” mentioned on the book jacket. Walter Grobius appears to operating out of a desire for immortality and personal gain – where white supremacy comes into this isn’t clear to me.
However, don’t let my little gripes stop you from reading and enjoying Evil Ways. The fast pacing is enough to carry most readers past the parts where disbelief is stretched thin and the great characters (Hannah Widmark is a personal favourite) combined with the diabolical ambitions of an evil black wizard make Evil Ways a hugely readable book.
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