Author Josh Lanyon’s writing sparkles as he takes readers for a spin in the Thirties-style crime fiction, THIS ROUGH MAGIC. Mr. Lanyon has said that THIS ROUGH MAGIC is a riff on THE THIN MAN, but while THIS ROUGH MAGIC takes place in the Thirties and shades of Hammett’s famous novel color the book, don’t expect Rafferty and Brett to be Nick and Nora – or even Nick and Nick. Rafferty and Brett are wholly unique characters, and they’re heroes I fell hard and fast for. Rafferty looks the part of a hardened PI, but he’s surprisingly – and even adorably – sweet. I worried Brett would break his heart, and Mr. Lanyon kept me guessing as to how things would work out for the pair. Brett’s determined to marry heiress Juliet Lennox, but his reasons for doing so stem from a single-minded effort to keep his head-in-the-clouds family afloat. Brett and Rafferty are sympathetic characters and being that this is a historical, Brett’s engagement is actually the smallest of the obstacles their burgeoning relationship faces.
A cast of idiosyncratic secondary characters bring flashiness to THIS ROUGH MAGIC, contrasting perfectly with the more grounded Rafferty and Brett. The mystery of who stole the folio isn’t hard to figure out, but it’s Brett and Rafferty’s journey that the case is a catalyst for which gives THIS ROUGH MAGIC its life. By turns tender, witty and charming, THIS ROUGH MAGIC was a delight to read, and I can’t wait to see Rafferty and Brett’s story continue in the next SHOT IN THE DARK book.