****I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review****
“Seeking Dr. Magic” is a genre bender, meshing aspects of a crime-drama with pure magical fantasy in a clever way. We follow along as ex-FBI agent, Tony Hetfield, tries to figure out who is behind bizarre magical acts happening all around the world, and why they are happening to begin with. Tony has the fortune, or misfortune depending on how you look at it, of naming this mysterious being responsible for these phantom ninjas, drawing the attention of Dr. Magic, who doesn’t enjoy the new title. Tony is used to the limelight from other high profile cases, but even this is getting to be more than he can handle as government agencies around the world try to catch Dr. Magic, and Tony by proxy, in order to eliminate him as a potential threat. It’s a cool concept, and Dr. Magic has some awesome abilities, but the book just needed … a bit more.
I liked the premise behind this a lot, mixing a traditional drama with fantasy hasn’t been done all that often, especially under this kind of lens. This isn’t a normal urban-fantasy where you have an underground society of fantastic beings living right under our noses. Dr. Magic is the only one like him, and he’s tired of living in the shadows. The fantasy elements were much more interesting than the mystery/thriller aspects of the book, however. For example, the abilities and limitations Dr. Magic has while he pushes the boundaries of reality is wonderful. I wish there had been more of that, and less of Detective Tony Hetfield.
Spotson shines when he is writing the fantastic, but not enough research was done on the FBI / detective side of things. Just because this is a fantasy doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t, do any research. I am a big fan of crime dramas and mystery / thrillers, so I may be pretty sensitive to Spotson’s portrayal of the FBI and other government and law enforcement, but seeing as how he included so much of it, I’d have liked to have seen more research done so those aspects felt more authentic. That way Tony would feel more like the hot shot ex-agent he’s supposed to be, rather than a guy who gets lucky with his hunches.
If Spotson had made Tony a celebrity who happened to be the first to call this being Dr. Magic, I don’t think anything would have been lost, as Tony doesn’t do much “detecting”. Then, Spotson could have spent more time building Dr. Magic, his familial relationships, and exploring why he is doing this now. Or turning it into a continuing series where Tony, and everyone else, is trying to find this guy and figure out how he can do these incredible things, that’d have been a lot of fun, too. Instead, the story wraps up pretty fast and really cleanly when I was aching for a bit more drama.
I enjoy books that blend genres, so I had high hopes for “Seeking Dr. Magic”, but the places the book was best were too sparse overall. It could have also used another round of editing as it would have helped the parts where Dr. Magic isn’t around flow better, and made everything feel more polished as a whole. Spotson has a great imagination, and he has a talent for blending genres in a unique way, so I am looking forward to reading more books by this author. But because I wanted more from this story and its characters at almost every turn, I’m giving this book 3.25 stars.
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