“Shadow People,” by James Swain. TOR. 352 pages. $25.99.
This is the second in Mr. Swain’s arresting series that features youthful psychic/magician Peter Warlock in blood-curdling thriller plots. Peter is more than your everyday psychic, as he can be overcome by demonic forces that transform him, charging him with rage and superhuman physical strength. Most often, his better nature allows him to bend that force to the good, but there is always the chance that he can turn into an uncontrollable menace.
Besides working his regular, sold-out magic shows in Manhattan, Peter often uses his psychic powers to assist the FBI. This time out, he is in league with FBI agent Garrison to foil a serial killer before his next target is murdered. This madman is driven to kill those who do good in the world, and he has lured a young woman to meet him under false, but convincing pretenses. The clock is ticking.
What Peter seeks is normality. He wants fulfilling human relationships. He wants to be truthful, rather than having to hide his background, his tainted legacy, and his frightening talents. He wants to be deserving of beautiful Liza, the young woman whom he has allowed to enter his life to a deeper level than any other woman has.
Peter has the ability to enter the spirit world, which in Mr. Swain’s imagination is not a desirable place; in fact, it may not be a place at all but rather a state of being. He is threatened at the outset of the novel by the Shadow People, who give him a glimpse of the future that includes the serial killer’s purpose and plan. This killer in turn is connected to the evil Order of Astrum , a group of demonic figures who murdered Peter’s parents.
Enough plot lines? Indeed. But there’s more. The young psychic Holly, niece of one of the psychic elders who stand in place of family for Peter, has a huge crush on him. Holly is violating all the protocols of witch and psychic behavior by constantly spying (“scrying”) on him and otherwise making his life difficult. How can he resolve this without hurting her?
To enjoy this review in its entirety, as it appears in the November 27, 2013 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the November 28 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Swain’s Shadow People