Tracking Magic (Max Killian Investigations)by Maria E. Schneider Published 01 Jan 1970
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|Publisher||Bear Mountain Books|
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"Get Smart" meets "Ghost Busters!"-- A humorous urban fantasy. Five case files from Max Killian Investigations:
Max is hired to expel a ghost from a mansion, counteract an ancient curse, investigate a graveyard mystery and figure out which secrets are worth dying for.
All in a day's work--assuming he survives!
"Tracking Magic (Max Killian Investigations)" Reviews
An excellent group of short stories with a touch of magic, a little investigation, ghosts, faeries and Egyptian curses...what more do you need?
Even though this may be my first book by Maria E. Schneider, I can guarantee you it will not be my last. The easy flow of the writing makes for a comfortable read, most in-part because the author chose to use common vernacular instead of becoming dependent on a thesaurus to convey her story. To me the characters were well thought out and presented with good detail. I was thankful that the author chose not to present her characters through her narrative but rather to use the dialogue of the characters to describe themselves.
First story of the five in the book: Haunting Clues(which is the only one I will cover in detail)
The main character of the tale is named Max Killian. With shades of the infamous Harry Dresden, Max Killian's profession is the supernatural. Max, a moral yet no-nonsense investigator willing to tackle the toughest of tough cases, is approached by a paying customer to hunt down a rather pesky ghost.
The customers name is Paul Delan. Now Mr. Delan is one tough cookie, and not in a particularly good way. He is attitude wrapped up in a blanket of his own personal interest and even though he is willing to fork over some cash to rid himself of his unwanted guest he's not gonna shell out any more money than absolutely necessary.
As the story goes on the two main characters must not only deal with the task at hand but also with the struggles that each of their personalities present. Killian is more and more annoyed with Delan's boisterous demands and Delan is evermore impatient with the time it is taking to rid the ghost.
By the end of the story everything falls in place, although maybe not in the usual fashion. After reading the first of the three stories you will see the authors vision for the characters be fleshed out by how the story ends. The reasons she picked to convey the characters the way she did is integral to the endgame of the story.
Curses: The continuing stories of Max Killian as he is once again hired. In this tale Max is hired to investigate the contents of a mysterious box from a sunken ship. The box may seem innocuous to an average citizen but to Max it reeks of death and magic. After successfully opening it, Max is exposed to an ancient myth that he wants no part of.
This second short story is of great interest to me since I am a huge fan of the ancient society to which to which it speaks. An all around fun tale that only solidified my positive feelings described of the first tale.
Dearly Departed: In this, the third tale, Max is hired by an unlikely customer - well professional rival is more like it. But of course Max is a professional as well and business is business. After the threat of a lawsuit presses Max's competitor to hire him, Max sets out to clear his clients reputation. What Max finds during his investigation leads to an action packed and entertaining tale.
A great story that is full of twists and turns.
Roadkill: Max is on a stakeout, and one he's not to confident will pay off. But it's not long before an apparition appears and puts Max to work. As the story goes on it is made clear the Max's abilities will be put to the test as even he struggles to put this case to rest. By the end of the story you will be impressed by how much depth and effort the author puts into the story and the characters in it.
Privy to Secrets: In this story Max's fantasy realm approaches the science fiction realm as wormholes and time travel play important roles in his next case. Following leads connected to a missing child Max finds himself traveling through time in an outhouse, of all things. After landing heavily in Texas, Max pushes through those who attempt to stand in his way. As the story progresses the fantasy thread we know and love returns to expose us to some great writing.
Through all five short stories, Maria E. Schneider writes clearly and plainly and in so doing creates an entertaining and fun book. All five stories strive to create compelling characters that are both deep and relevant. I don't usually venture into fantasy tales often but if Maria E. Schneider continues to write stories like this I will have to pick up the genre much more often.
One of the things I love so much about paranormal/fantasy novels is their amazing attention to detail. Worlds beyond comprehension are created and characters, with otherwise impossible abilities, are summoned up from the imaginarium of the authors mind.
Now, all that being said I was pretty excited by the idea of a “paranormal-magic tracking” private investigator, unfortunately having a fantastic idea doesn’t always equal great execution.
For those of you who have ever watched a film noir or noir shorts you will easily understand the format for “Tracking Magic (Max Killian Investigations)” Here was a novel that was written as a series of short stories which are (when you break it down) actually case files for the PI Max Killian, (a somewhat blase’ middle-aged investigator who -to be honest- makes a brick wall sound exciting.)
After Schnieder’s 1st story “Haunting Clues”, (which I thought ended abruptly and had no substance) I was certain things would get better… there was just so much potential there, but instead of getting better, (expanding the personal attributes of Max or even bringing in references of older cases) the stories just…stayed the same. They were (in places) mildly entertaining, but the obvious repetition in the beginning of each story ( yes – I get it, you don’t tell people you can smell magic because then you will be taxed by the government) had me tuning out.
Would I count “Schnieder” out of the writers talent pool? No… she just needs to focus more on where she wants her “Hero” to go.
Do I think “Tracking Magic” is worth the time? Well since it only took me 2 and a half hours to read, sure… I’m just not all that sure I’d want to pay $2.00 for that 2 hours.
Read if you have NOTHING else.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: The IRS eventually finds everyone.. there is no point in hiding… they are like a bad case of Ebola with no vaccine.