by Lee Kelly
The Night Circus meets The Peaky Blinders in Lee Kelly’s new magical realism, crossover novel.
Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive—and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.
It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.
Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.
Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic—and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.
A Criminal Magic casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.
North American publisher: Saga Press/Simon & Schuster, February 2016
Foreign rights sold: Turkey (Yabanci)
Foreign rights contact: Allison Devereux, Wolf Literary Services
Film/TV rights contact: Allison Devereux, Wolf Literary Services
Well crafted and delightfully taut, A Criminal Magic is a wonderful piece of spellwork.”—V.E. Schwab, author of the A Darker Shade of Magic series
Thanks to compelling characters and a thrilling plot, this book kept me entranced from start to finish … the magic of this story is no illusion.”—Kirkus Reviews
This urban fantasy, always electric, reads like jazz itself.”—Publishers Weekly
This is a solid, suspenseful, Prohibition-era crime story, with one rather large twist: in this version of the U.S., it’s not liquor that’s been made illegal, it’s magic … This is a clever and very imaginative variant on a tried-and-true theme.”—Booklist
A Criminal Magic is a smart, absorbing read, with a deft take on Prohibition, engaging characters, and an utterly believable and fantastic version of magic that is as splendid as it is dangerous.”—Kate Elliott, author of the Spiritwalker Series