This an intriguing story about magic, workers, family, the con, hiding who you are, school, friendship, loyalty, crime and growing up. It's a young ad..Show More »ult/adult story, which is both a compelling crime story, and sometime mystery, and a compelling fantasy set in an alternative contemporary USA. The main difference is magic - in the form of cursework - exists, and was banned at the same time as alcohol; only the alcohol ban has been lifted, but that on magic hasn't, so curseworkers work for the mob. People are born with working abilities or they are not. Every working has an effect on the person being worked, and the worker.
The story opens in a dramatic way, with the protagonist up on his dorm roof with no idea how he got there, or how to get down. The school calls the fire brigade, who get him down, and the head suspends Cassel on medical leave until he can assure the school lawyers he won't sleepwalk again like this. Cassel is collected by his brother Philip, and first stays with him, then his grandfather. His family is acting strangely - more so than usual, or at least more than can usually be attributed to the behaviour of the workers in the family to the one non-worker in it. Cassel's main interest is getting back into school, but in the process he investigates his family and the mysteries that surround him. There are plenty of twists, turns and surprises.
The narrator is Jesse Eisenberger, who does a spellbinding, convincing and compelling job of bringing this book, its characters and world to life. I've started to read a print copy of this novel, and it's quite a different experience. The audio version is excellent, and the opening and closing music is just right to transport this listener in and out of this book's world, and not at all jarring. It strikes the right mystery, magic and noir notes. All in all, this book is well worth a listen.