A fifteen year old boy sees it as his duty to rid Edinburgh of the scum that prey on the innocent people of the city. He finds that to punish the guilty he must first face fear,loss and betrayal.
He will soon discover things aren’t always as they seem, and there are other people who have uses for a young killer as well as bigger forces at play.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.
Bindings & Spines brings together two genre of books that I am very much a fan of; those being fantasy and mystery. More accurately it follows the urban fantasy genre. R. M. Ridley’s work is the second full-length novel in his White Dragon Black series following private investigator and magical practitioner Jonathan Alvey.
In this world, the use of magic often draws on the life energy of the practitioner. This slowly eats away at their being. As a promise to a close friend, we meet Alvey suffering the withdrawal effects of going cold turkey from magic. A routine case seems to fall his way: a simple tail to prove extramarital activities. Unfortunately for Jonathan, nothing turns out quite so simply.
Aside from dealing with a particularly unpleasant gnome-like infestation in his office, the case itself is anything but what it seems to be. What unfolds is a tale of deceit, jealousy and subterfuge; an attempt to defraud someone of their inheritance. On top of all of his other trials and his ever-changing withdrawal symptoms, the town of New Hades is also suffering from the failed attempts of an aspiring necromancer that Jonathan Alvey is tasked with resolving.
Ridley’s urban fantasy is a fantastic ride with a somewhat dark sense of humour. I loved the character of Jonathan Alvey. He is undeniably damaged and knows it, but will do his best to please those he cares about and to protect those who cannot defend themselves. The world woven throughout the book is grimy and dirty with an underlying threat. So well created it feels alive. And I cannot help but picture the character of Alvey as the version of John Constantine from DC Legends of Tomorrow (actor Matt Ryan) as I read the book. I hope to discover more Alvey stories in the future from Ridley.