Alchemy-based magic gives a relatively mild supernatural flavor to what is otherwise a novel focused strongly on police procedural lines in Dirty Magic, a novel by Jaye Wells. Dirty Magic, the first in the “Prospero War” series, follows the story of Kate Prospero, police officer. The novel brings us to her story just as the scourge of dirty magic in her rust belt hometown takes a dangerous, and even deadly, turn.
Genre mashups, or crossovers, are always a matter of balancing acts. Unless an author is truly ambitious, there usually is a dominant genre, and a secondary genre. Often for fantasy and science fiction readers, SFF is the dominant genre, with mystery, romance, or thriller elements as the secondary genre that is layered in. A relatively popular secondary genre as of late for layering into fantasy, especially urban fantasy, has the bones of the procedural. There are a lot of advantages for a writer to use elements of the procedural, especially in terms of structure and story beats, It provides authors a narrative framework to decorate with the genre elements, and everything else in the novel as well.
Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells, then, runs with that last, as the secondary genre to her urban fantasy structure is most definitely police procedural. [Read more…]