Review: Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustainis

Black Magic Woman details

  • Author: Justin Gustainis
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Public Library
  • Publisher: Solaris
  • Publication Date: January 29, 2008
  • Pages: 336
  • Genre: Urban Fantasy
  • Series: Quincey Morris
  • Book #: 1

Description from GoodReads

Occult investigator Quincey Morris and his “consultant”, white witch Libby Chastain, are hired to free a family from a deadly curse that appears to date back to the Salem witch trials.

Fraught with danger, the trail finds them stalking the mysterious occult underworlds of Boston, San Francisco, New Orleans and New York, searching out the root of the curse. After surviving a series of terrifying attempts on their lives, the two find themselves drawn inexorably towards Salem itself – and the very heart of darkness.

Black Magic Woman marks the start of an electrifying news series of supernatural thrillers following the exploits of occult investigators Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain, as they search out evil in the darkest corners of America.

Review of Black Magic Woman

There is so much going on in Black Magic Woman. It is easy to get confused because there are a lot of characters, multiple points of view, and a lot of flashbacks. Despite this, I want to continue reading this series.

What really sold me on this story are a few of the characters, especially the consultant Libby. Quincey is okay, but I don’t feel like he has much personality of his own. He’s just a reflection of his ancestors. I hope future books give Quincey a life and interests beyond just hunting down critters and baddies.

Not mentioned in the blurb is the subplot involving Van Dreenan of the South African Occult Crimes Unit and Fenton from the BSU. At the end, their story merges with that of Quincey and Libby. Basically, they were dealing with the same problem, just a different aspect of it. I wanted to bring this up because I really enjoyed their characters and the dynamics between the two.

The dialect used in this story is well written. Also, the action scenes are very gripping.

On the down side, there is a little head hopping (switching POV in the same scene), which distracted me. I also didn’t like that the author came out and told the reader who the bad person was before the main characters figured it out. Plus, the ending was kind of a disappointment because Quincey doesn’t even know what happened until he talks to Libby. It doesn’t feel very triumphant when the character is going, “Huh?” (not literally, but it felt like that).

This would have been a great book without the prologue and all the other flashbacks to ancestors of the characters. It was well-written, but it just got to be too much.

I hope to get a chance to read the next book in the series soon.

I would recommend this book to people who like urban fantasy that is tied to history.

I give this book a 4 star rating.