cover image Dark Magic

Dark Magic

James Swain. Tor, $24.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2994-3

Banal prose and a routine plot undermine this occult thriller from Swain (Midnight Rambler and three other Jack Carpenter crime novels). Behind Peter Warlock’s public face as a talented stage magician lurks the reality of a powerful psychic concealing his true powers from a world that would only exploit him. When Warlock, who can glimpse the future, foresees a mass murder of biblical proportions, he must choose between the risk of official attention if he acts and the certainly of a calamitous loss of life if he does not. Complicating matters is the identity of the killer—a deadly assassin dispatched to America by the malevolent Order of Astrum to kill Warlock and his circle of adepts. Warlock never rises above the cliché of a character in possession of powers that make him dangerously valuable to those who could control him, and his antagonists never manage to become more than mustache-twirling cardboard cutouts. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (May)