The Jupiter Knife

D.J. Butler and Aaron Michael Ritchey. Baen, $16 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-982125-18-9
Butler and Ritchey return to Depression-era Utah for a second thrilling tale of murder and folk magic (after The Cunning Man). In 1935, Farmer Hiram Woolley and his adopted Navajo son, Michael, travel to Moab to dowse for a well. While there, they learn of a ghost haunting the newly established Arches National Monument and linger to investigate, discovering that a young boy was recently killed by wild animals. Hiram and Michael also pay a visit to seductive widow Diana Artemis, a fellow purveyor of folk magic who is looking for a charm to help with Hiram’s “falling sickness.” Hiram’s skills dull after meeting Diana, because they require a chaste mind. While in this condition, Hiram discovers the body of Lloyd Preece, a wealthy rancher murdered with his own knife. When law enforcement proves unwilling to investigate, Hiram and Michael look for the killer, uncovering a disturbing ritual involving the men of the town that links back to the Arches ghost and sweeps up Hiram in a dangerous game. The play between Hiram’s earnest Mormonism and the more secular Michael’s growing unease with folk magic adds depth to the father-son dynamic, and the false leads and eccentric side characters make for a delightful mystery. This well-crafted historical fantasy is sure to please. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 12/07/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-1-9821-2599-8
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