Frank Sampson is a sorcerer – or rather a forensic sorcerer – and one of the best, though he is a teenager. This is a world where it is the young who are Gifted, losing their talent as they grow older – a circumstance that causes tensions. Frank is also very annoying. No wonder he makes enemies as he struggles to solve the murder of the Bishop of Oxford.
Picking up on the latest fashion that sees the world of Sherlock Holmes married to a world of magic and demons, this is a lively addition to the genre. The plot moves at a bewildering pace, Frank refusing to take no for an answer. The dialogue is colloquial and contemporary as is the narrative, told in the first person present with the casual, wisecracking style designed to draw the reader in as the privileged audience. Characterisation is light and action paramount, while the situation has a pleasing element of novelty. Frank will be making more appearances, I feel sure. Perhaps he will be given a more attractive cover on his next outing? This is one for fans of Lockwood and Co (Stroud) or Knightley and Son (Gavin).