by Stephen Dedman
A book review by Mark L. Olson
Tor, 2001, 334 pp, $25.95
This is a sequel to the quite good The Art of Arrow Cutting from a couple years ago. During the course of investigating a young woman's problems, Michael Magestral (Mage) and Charlie Takumo came across a focus, a talisman which allows a degree control of magic. Mage developed a considerable level of control and ultimately used it to kill the LA-based Japanese mobster who was chasing the young woman.
This book is set perhaps a year later and Takumo (a movie stuntman) is being harassed by an unknown person who every once in a while sends a hitman after him. He's managed to stay alive, but now gets sucked into an investigation where a disemboweled corpse disappeared from the morgue and was photographed standing outside a woman's window.
The situation involves vampires, more Japanese mobsters, and a black magician who is also a failed film maker. Mage, Takumo and others have to defeat a beginning plague of vampires to regain a chance at a normal life.
The story is quite satisfying and manages to stay, as advertised, as magic noir rather than verging over into horror. The vampires are well done, though it's difficult to see how under the rules Dedman set up an epidemic of vampirism could be prevented.
Recommended, in spite of a bit of silly politics Dedman stuck in.
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