Monday, October 31, 2016

A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

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A Criminal Magic
Lee Kelly
Publication date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
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.

Author Bio:
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


A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
Book Review
by Kathy Finfrock
Author House of Redemption

I'll start with the simple statement that I could not put this light thriller down. To have the gift of true magic could be empowering and an excellent asset, but it could also be a huge liability as the list of people trying to use and abuse you would be never ending. Especially those who would enslave you by threatening what you find most valuable. This brings us the foundation of Joan's story.  I found the character development to be strong as Joan, who locked her magic away, reopens it and discovers her inner strength and how strong she really can be.  She doesn't do it alone. I liked the teamwork with the other characters and the bonds they develop.  I even liked the bad guys. The settings are descriptive and I felt like I was there with them. The story plot moves along at a fair speed with plenty of twists in a duo perspective.  It has a pulp fiction feel, but that may be due to the time era set in 1926.

All in all, I enjoyed A Criminal Magic. I am still thinking of the characters long after the story has ended. This is a stand alone book, but it is possible for a sequel to happen.

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Kathy! This sounds like a great read! Glad you liked it! :)