Series: MORRIS & CHASTAIN SUPERNATURAL INVESTIGATIONS
Plot Type: UF
Ratings: V3; S3; H3
Publisher and Titles: Solaris
Black Magic Woman (2008)
Evil Ways (2008)
Black Magic Woman
> Malachi (Mal) Peters: A former covert government assassin who died, went to hell, and has now been brought back by the demon Astaroth to kill Stark/Sargatanas before he can become President.
> Ashley (aka Ashur Badaktu): a beautiful demon who is sent by Astaroth to assist Peters.
> Nestor Greene: a political dirty-tricks specialist hired by MM to get rid of Stark's political competitors.
> The Grocer's Son: an assassin hired by Nestor to take out the final competing presidential candidate.
Quincey and Libby are separately drawn into the Stark/Sargatanas situation and soon begin to work together to solve the problem. Gustainis hopscotches from one character to another to carry the story along, with each scene building up more and more suspense. All of the characters are well developed, even the two exorcists who get dragged into the mess. Gustainis excels at creating well-constructed stories woven from many disparate threads, and this is a prime example. The ending is full of twists and surprises that will keep you guessing up until the very last paragraph.
Although I awarded the series a "3" in sensuality because it does not include any graphic sexual scenes, the reader should be aware that sexual innuendo simmers throughout the book. Libby has been known to swing both ways, and the demons are sex obsessed, but all of their sexuality is limited to talk and/or aftermath descriptions. Language in some scenes is provocative and profane. We are, after all, dealing with demons here.
This is a solid UF series with plenty of action and suspense. It is different from the usual UF series, because its star is a thirty-something male based on a literary figure. Quincey Morris and his friends sprinkle their dialogue with quite a few quotations from history, literature, and popular culture—from Sun Tzu's Art of War to Nietzsche to James Bond movies. Gustainis does a great job of creating his many plot threads and then weaving them together to form a coherent, adventure-packed story with humorous overtones.
Here are two quotations from Sympathy for the Devil that will give you a taste of Justainis' humor:
In this scene, Quincey explains to Libby that he had to send some of his clients to other occult investigators:
"Well, there's Anita [Blake]. I sent a couple of people her way."
Morris gave a snort of laughter. "You said that the way I bet Dracula used to say 'Van Helsing'....She's good at what she does, Libby."
"Well she used to be. But from what I hear lately, she's more interested in who she does than what, if you know what I mean."
...."Different strokes. In Anita's case, I grant, very different. And lots of them." (Sympathy for the Devil, pp. 222-223)
In this scene, Peters and Ashley are discussing their next move: