A Dangerous Magic

Donald Hounam. Carolrhoda Lab, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-5124-3232-9
Originally published in the U.K., Hounam’s supernatural mystery takes readers to an alternate contemporary England where technology is at early-20th-century levels, the dominant Catholic church seeks to embrace magic rather than persecute it, and children must take on adult roles because adults start to go blind in their 20s. When the headless body of the bishop of Oxford turns up, the authorities have little choice but to seek out 15-year-old Frank Sampson, a rule-breaking and wisecracking forensic sorcerer. The case should be simple—locate the missing head and find the killer—but add in a mercurial partner, an unhelpful chief inspector, and Frank’s instantaneous infatuation with the murdered bishop’s niece, and he has more obstacles to maneuver. There are enough gory rituals and plot twists to help push through the occasional lag in action, and Frank’s sardonic narration provides a coarse, attitude-laden introduction to this elaborately imagined, if somewhat opaque, world, even if his general refusal to accept what’s in front of him tends to irritate more than endear. Ages 13–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/17/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 352 pages - 978-1-5124-4858-0
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