BLACK MAGIC WOMAN by Justin Gustainis
Quincey Morris was a name immediately familiar to me from the granddaddy of horror novels, Dracula, by Bram Stoker. In that book, Morris was an Texan adventurer who hooked up with Jonathan Harker and Mina in the battle against the evil count.
Now, a couple hundred years plus later, it was interesting to note that the Quincey Morris name is still being used in a battle against the forces of darkness. And, being a Westerner myself, I enjoyed the fact that today’s Quincey Morris has kept his Texas roots.
The book starts off with a bang, but it also seemed a little disjointed, as if the first chapter was an addition requested by an editor. The small-town vampire battle is a nice, exciting touch, but has nothing to do with the rest of the novel, which has more to do with the witch’s curse revealed in the prologue.
However, once Quincey takes up the trail of what he at first thinks is a restless spirit, the pace quickly picks up. Author Justin Gustainis spreads the narrative across several characters, which takes a little investment on part of the reader to keep up with everyone, but they’re all interesting and unique enough that the effort required isn’t too much of a burden.
Gustainis also throws in some supernatural lore from Africa that I found immensely interesting and hadn’t come in contact with before. He does a good job of mixing it all in while keeping the pacing up and the pages turning.
Evidently white witch Libby Chastain becomes a regular in the series (three books have so far been published) and she adds a lot to the book and to Quincey. I like the familiar repartee that passes between them, as well as the confidence and care they have in each other. I look forward to getting to know these characters more intimately as I continue reading the series. I already have the second and third books on order.