Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BOOK TOUR: The Curse Merchant by JP Sloan

I am so excited to have this spot on the blog tour for J.P. Sloan's The Curse Merchant, which became available September 14th, 2014. Please, please check it out, because I loved this urban fantasy novel, and I want more!

The Book

Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian's disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.

His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn't be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian's captivating ex-lover. After two years' absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen's affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation... with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.

The Curse Merchant is available NOW:

Amazon | Kobo | Barnes & Nobles | Goodreads | Curiosity Quills Press (check this one out for an excerpt!)

My Thoughts:

When I participated in the cover reveal for The Curse Merchant, I commented on Dorian's slightly unhinged and exhausted demeanor. Turns out this cover is *spot on,* because Dorian has this worldweary thing going on, as though a weight is pressing down on him right from the start of the book - and it never lets up. A sense of impending doom oozes through each page - it's never entirely clear how Dorian is going to stumble through, well, everything.

Mind, Dorian is fantastic. He knows his stuff, but his stuff is quickly established as the very tip of the iceberg. I loved this! I've griped before about how we never get to see the very start of urban fantasy main character careers -  BOOM! Consider that complaint fully answered here. I also adored Dorian's attitude. He's smart enough to realize that things would probably be easier if he was, say, a little more reserved and polite, but he can't manage that. And it's so entertaining to see how he's both rewarded and punished for it.

There are some other great characters in this story, though Dorian really has center stage the entire time. Neil Osterhaus has a bit of a generic old creepy guy vibe going on but Carmen, Dorian's ex, is a firecracker, and Osterhaus' muscle, Malosi , is an amusing presence. I love the way he acts as a litmus for how Osterhaus will react to Dorian's antics. 

I also liked the way that other characters brought in new paranormal elements. Dorian's hex and charm business is cool, and we get some great details on how that works - but we also get references to other forms of magic, including witches, soul mongering and Netherwork. I was a little on the fence about that particular term, but it grew on me. There's a rich well of the paranormal here and I look forward to learning more about it.

Beyond the atmospheric writing, a compelling male protagonist, a wealth of paranormal components and an entertaining cast of secondary characters, The Curse Merchant is also an excellent story. There's some early cues that hint at the larger story, and I do think you need to have some faith that the novel will get there and that explanations are forthcoming. Please rest assured that if you read the book, you'll be satisfied on these fronts. Though clearly the start of a series, The Curse Merchant doesn't leave any niggling questions about the events that happen within it. I was so excited when I finished the last page of the book - because I knew I'd found a new urban fantasy series to happily add to my shelves! If only book two was already out....

Bottom line:

Completely worth a read, the only problem I see with reading The Curse Merchant is that you'll be stuck waiting for book two in the Dark Choir series.

5 stars
For fans of hexes and charms, urban fantasy, male protagonists

The Author

I am a storyteller, eager to transport the reader to strange yet familiar worlds. My writing is dark, fantastical, at times stretching the limits of the human experience, and other times hinting at the monsters lurking under your bed. I write science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, and several shades in between.

I am a husband and a father, living in the "wine country" of central Maryland. I'm surrounded by grapevines and cows. During the day I commute to Baltimore, and somehow manage to escape each afternoon with only minor scrapes and bruises. I am also a homebrewer and a certified beer judge. My avocations dovetail nicely!

Find J.P. Sloan Online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads