Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Big-Ass Witch

The Big-Ass Witch
by Gary Jonas
Recommended Ages: 14+

"Half-assed wizard" Brett Masters has been granted a reprieve from being turfed out by his rich, powerful wizard father, on the condition that he take wizard lessons from cousin Sabrina and additional guidance from a Galveston, Texas witch named Lakesha. Mostly, however, Brett just wants to sleep into the afternoon, play gigs with his band and get drunk. Lakesha challenges him to show that he can care about helping others, beginning with a little ghost boy whose aunt, also a ghost, has been kidnapped.

How do you kidnap a ghost? You'll have to ask a trio of Houston-based occultists that. One of them is a woman whose perfume turns Brett into her love slave, though she has no interest in him. Another is a tattooed security guard who turns up gruesomely dead in a shopping mall toilet. The third guy seems to be connected with a strange jewelry store heist: just one stone, a black onyx, has been stolen. By a funny stroke of happenstance, Brett finds himself in possession of the hot rock. But then he also finds himself possessed by the spirit of a woman who committed suicide before he was born, and who won't rest until Brett suicides himself as well.

Forced to devote more effort to not killing himself than he has exerted toward anything in recent memory, Brett joins Lakesha and Sabrina in trying to track down a coven of witches who have apparently ghost-napped Brett's little buddy for some nefarious purpose. Or maybe it isn't so nefarious, and the two wizards and one witch are the final weapons needed in a magical battle against soul-devouring evil. Well, good luck with that.

This is the second book in the "Half-Assed Wizard" quartet, of which book 3 is titled The Dumbass Demon. I was genuinely entertained, and I thought this book outshone its predecessor, funnily enough titled The Half-Assed Wizard. A tiny, struggling spark of a sense that Brett may care about somebody other than his own lazy, willfully stupid self may be a thin thread to hang onto, but there's also sex appeal – though you shouldn't let the cover art mislead you; Brett isn't the character who's got it – as well as spooky magic (worthy of an Occult Content Advisory), laughs, charming local scenery and a touch of a hint of a clue, once again, that the way Brett's dad treats him may really be to blame for the way Brett acts most of the time. Could he be on course for self-improvement? Stay tuned.

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