Dirty Magic (Prospero’s War, #1)
by Jaye Wells

4.5 stars, actually.

I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this cop/magic Urban Fantasy. In a thinly veiled Cleveland on the industrial banks of Lake Erie called Babylon, Kate Prospero is bumped up from patrol cop to a special Magic Enforcement Agency squad after being attacked by a user hopped up on a new street potion turning the user into a rabid half-wolf man.

Kate isn’t known for her excellent people skills, and it turns out her promotion is based on her sketchy background as a member of the strongest coven (potions are another thinly veiled reference to drugs, so by “coven” we mean “meth cookers/pushers”) in the city and her connections to some of the big city players.

Only Kate has sworn off all magic, despite her younger brother and ward’s interest in all things magic/potion.

While trying to shake her checkered past, Kate has to impress her new squad, still stay loyal to her police department, protect her brother, handle a past love who may be flooding the street with dangerous drugs/potions, and keep her city from imploding.

This is a gritter, cop procedural UF, which is fun, and Kate is a great character with a terrific tricky past. There wasn’t quite enough romance in this one for me, although there’s some fun emotional tension with her ex lover and a possible blossoming of interest with a fellow member of the squad.

It seemed to me, though, that the ex lover in the beginning acted a bit differently from the ex lover at the end- where he was much more willing to manipulate Kate then try to protect her.

Still…I went ahead and bought the second book already because it was so enjoyable, well written, and the whole drug/potion thing really engaging.