Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Blood and Whispers by AC Haskins
Narrator: Matt Godfrey
Published by Tantor Audio on April 13, 2021
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 11 hours, 56 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
Thomas Quinn is a sorcerer haunted by the memories of the things he's done over centuries of service to the Arcanum. From battling djinn to killing demigods and dragons, the scars and nightmares have left him a broken man. He has long retired from that life, running an occult shop in Philadelphia for the past several decades, wanting nothing more than to be left alone with his books and his whiskey and his shame.
But when two detectives come to his door asking about a brutal ritual murder in his city, Quinn must reluctantly take up the mantle of a Sorcerer of the Arcanum once more, and face down those who would threaten the fragile peace between the human and magical worlds. His investigation takes him from the streets of Philadelphia to the court of a Faerie King as he races to stop the apocalypse.
Thomas Quinn was prepared to fight rogue sorcerers and Fae monsters. But the greatest threat he faces may be his own inner demons. . .
Blood and Whispers is the first book in a yet to be named series. It follows a few centuries old sorcerer, who has basically given up on the outside world, and is pretty content to hang out in his shop and drink his life away. That is until a couple of cops show up in his magic store and he finds out a low level sorcerer has been killed in a very ritualistic way. If he wants to keep the Arcanum out of his territory, he is going to have to solve this murder on his own.
Thomas starts out pretty unlikable. He is surly, stubborn and tends to drink to solve the issue of the voices in his head. So not a great role model for the kids out there. Though some discovery, we find out that Thomas has really been through a lot in his almost three centuries of life and is just trying to cope with the fallout of his past and losing his best friend and the love of his life. Has he picked the best coping methods? Probably not, but we are all just human.
With some fenagling, Thomas takes the two officers on a journey they were not expecting. Visiting faery markets and prisons and introducing them into a world they never imagined existed with horrors and wonders both. It was good to have the officers to play off of for dialogue so Thomas had a reason to explain his past and how the magic society worked along with Fae lore.
Overall, this is a solid first story. There is a lot of set up happening for the world and sometimes it turned into a tell me instead of show me situation, but I allow for a little more of that in a first book to set up the story. I liked the direction that Thomas’s character took and that he was unusual for a magic user since he liked to also incorporate guns into his fighting style. I’ve wondered in the past why more authors don’t play with that dynamic a little more. The history and the incorporation of various fae, norse, greek lore into the book made it really interesting and pretty fun giving a different spin to some of the fae characters.
If/when there is a next book in this series, I’d be willing to continue.
Matt Godfrey has an impressive list of books to his name, but surprisingly this is the first book narrated by him that I’ve listened to. He definitely seems seasoned and portrayed the grumpy surly Thomas really well. I was able to listen to this at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip: HERE