A Criminal Magic – Deal Spin
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A Criminal Magic

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In this alternate 1926, the Feds aren't fighting the demon alcohol; instead, the great danger made illegal via the Eighteenth Amendment is magic. The illusions gifted sorcerers can conjure are but a window into this forbidden magic. Patrons of illegal magic joints consume "Shine," water transmuted into a potion by magical power, for an altered state—a trip that many want to take again and again. Inside the Red Den, one establishment where patrons use Shine, Joan Kendrick, a country girl using her astonishing magical gifts to save her family, and Alex Danfrey, undercover agent and son of an indicted trafficker in magic, fall under a different sort of spell. If Joan can help the Washington, DC, gangster running the Den find a way to keep Shine from turning back into water after 24 hours, the consumption of magic and the criminal power structure will be forever altered. Few of the trappings of the 1920s get much play, but the allure and grimy glamour of the speakeasy provide the perfect vehicle for a magically made drug and criminal commodity. VERDICT As both Joan and Alex are only a bit older than high school students, their powers and dilemmas will interest the sort of strong teen readers who might enjoy a fantastical version of the era.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Gwinnett County, GA

This is a solid, suspenseful, Prohibition-era crime story, with one rather large twist: in this version of the U.S., it's not liquor that's been made illegal, it's magic. . . . This is a clever and very imaginative variant on a tried-and-true theme. (Booklist)"This urban fantasy, always electric, reads like jazz itself."  (Publisher's Weekly)