HEX-RATED by Jason Ridler
Release Date: 1 August 2017
My Rating: 3/5
It’s Los Angeles in the 70’s and James Brimstone is a down and out ex-carney, burying the man who taught him magic (real magic) while endeavoring to launch his Private Eye practice. When a woman shows up outside his office, covered in scars of a supernatural bent, he signs on for a lot more than he had intended. Car chases, fight scenes, porno movies, Nazi magic, and our Korean war hero, Brimstone, just trying to hold his own between two worlds he doesn’t fully understand. A raucous, sexy, silly, action-packed mystery.
A book that was written as an homage to 70’s occult detective pulp achieved its aim with aplomb. Rating this was difficult, as it accomplished precisely what it set out to (it’s delightfully pulp-y). I think that Ridler has set up a fantastically fun detective for his series to come. Unfortunately, the rest of the characters were significantly less developed (with the notable exception of Cactus), often verging on the one-dimensional. A retro read for anyone eager for a throwback to troubled Los Angeles in the 70’s coupled with titillating fantasy/adventure.
As a side note: I read a lot of ARCs and am accustomed to encountering minor mistakes that are easily fixed in a round of proofreading. I am totally unalarmed by these errors. However, this is not an ARC and it really needs another once over. Forget grammar, this book has actual spelling errors. Bit of a shame.