Today I’m participating in a blog tour for A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly. You can read an excerpt and enter the awesome, magical giveaway that the author is hosting!
A CRIMINAL MAGIC by Lee Kelly
Publish Date: January 2nd 2016
THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new crossover fantasy novel.
Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.
It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.
Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.
Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.
A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.
A CRIMINAL MAGIC is a historical fantasy that takes place in Prohibition-era America, but magic instead of alcohol has been prohibited. It follows sorcerer Joan and undercover agent Alex as they become entangled in the magic underworld. We pick up with Alex walking into a prohibited magic party, the night he’s tapped to go undercover:
Warren pulls out a small piece of paper from the pocket of his trousers. He checks the address, then approaches one of the squat, shabby houses on our left, a two-story with smudged windows and chipping rose-colored paint. Two wooden Greek letters have been nailed over the entrance, the only faint scent of “fraternity” on the block.
“This is the address,” Warren mumbles.
I throw the stub of my cig into the dying bushes lining the little yard, then follow Warren up the set of cracked cement stairs to the house’s back door.
“1312”—he looks at me—“this has to be it.”
I shrug. “So try the door.”
Warren reaches for the doorknob, but his hand passes right through it. “Oh, wow.” He gingerly steps in, straight through the door, and I follow.
As soon as I cross the threshold, I feel it, that slow pull of walking straight through a protective force field. Like an unraveling, layer by layer, like I’m being consumed slowly by a thick, black nothing. I can’t see Warren, hell, I can’t even sense
Warren—and then the void releases, the black softens into twilight, and we’re standing at another door, this one identical to the last, leading to an identical house, except each window of the house is now glowing, animated with light from within. A steady flow of jazz and conversation spills from the house’s interior.
“Holy shit,” Warren says. “Have you ever experienced anything like that?”
Call me jaded, but this force field is amateur magic at best. “A better sorcerer would have added a tactile manipulation, an actual house around the house, instead of just a protective shield,” I say. “See this little force field?” I wave my hand back through the charged, protective space. “As soon as cops or agents reach for the door, they’ll know there’s magic inside.”
Warren rolls his eyes but doesn’t argue—sorcery is the one topic I still have the upper hand on, always will. Of course I know I’m being a prick, but Warren’s pathetic, almost childlike wonder over this lackluster work of sorcery bothers me. I’m
angry at magic. I’m angry at my father, at those D Street gangsters who sold him out, at myself—
These days, I’m pretty much angry at everything.
About the Author
Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker. She is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages. Visit her at http://www.NewWriteCity.com.
Includes: A hard copy of A Criminal Magic, plus a few of Lee’s recent favorite magic reads: A Darker Shade of Magic, The Night Circus, The Witch Hunter, plus a pre-order of a magic book Lee is really excited about next year, Caraval.