Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
Magic to the Bone, the first in Devon Monk’s series, has an interesting system of magic. Each time magic is used, a physical and painful price, such as in the form of migraines and flu like symptoms, is taken from the user, unless it is offloaded to another person. However, Allie Beckstrom also loses memories. Allie works as a Hound, finding illegal casters by following their scent from their work. When she finds a boy suffering under the effects of an illegal offload, she finds her father’s signature on the spell, forcing her to see her father for the first time in years. Supposedly, magical signatures cannot be forged perfectly, so when Allie’s shows up at a murder site, she goes on the road with the help of the mysterious Zayvion.
Magic to the Bone was a good read. While I like Monk’s magical system, having the character forget everything and distrust everyone after every major event can become a little tedious. However, I do recommend the story. The characters are colorful and its universe is quite unique. Zayvion and Allie’s magical abilities hint at a more complex understanding of magic than the one for public use in the novel.
You Can’t Stop Me by Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens
You Can’t Stop Me starts out with a bang and does not slow down. Just hours after stopping a presidential assassination attempt, J.C. Harrow returns home to find his wife and son murdered with his wife’s wedding ring missing. After time passes and the police cannot find their killer, Harrow vows to find him on his own. A few years later, Harrow becomes the host of a reality television show that solves crimes. When a connection is found between the murder of a law enforcement officer’s family and his own, Harrow puts together a team to find the murderer as part of the reality show. They find a number of similar murders, making the suspect a serial killer.
I could not put You Can’t Stop Me down. The story just took hold and would not let go. With little passages from the murderer’s point of view, you cannot help but wonder if Harrow and his team will catch him when he can watch their progress on television. Collins and Clemens have concocted a clever plot with likable characters. Even the killer’s history evokes some sympathy.