May Contain Traces of Magic (J. W. Wells & Co., #6)

By Tom Holt

Rating: 3 stars

Chris Popham is a travelling salesman, although rather than purveying electrical goods or tupperware, he sells magical tat, relying on his trusty SatNav to get him to his destination. He’s only slightly surprised when his navigational aid starts talking back, advising him on making sales and so forth, and then Things start to happen to him. Demons start appearing around him, his boss saddles him with a graduate trainee and his best friend starts acting oddly. And that’s just day one.

This book had a pretty complex plot, and I’m not entirely sure it pulled off the trick of telling the story through the knots in the plot. Trying to keep track of who was alive/dead; lying at any given time; or remembering the small details that would, no doubt, turn out to be important was tricky, to say the least.

Chris was a likeable enough protagonist, just trying to make sense of the world around him, which seemed to have gone mad. He’s as grounded as someone whose day to day job involves selling portable parking spaces and bank holidays in a DVD can be.

Oh, and despite spotting that the dried water was a Chekov’s Gun, I still have no idea what it really did or why it was important to the plot. Still, for all that, I did find myself still thinking about the book, trying to unravel it for a day or two after I finished it. It would probably make more sense on a second read, but I don’t know if I can really be bothered.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841495057
Publisher: Orbit
Year of publication: 2009

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