White Trash Warlock – David R. Slayton (Blackstone Publishing)

Although this release is from last year, David Slayton is a local Denver author and I missed this when it was first out. The sequel, Trailer Park Trickster, will be coming in October, but that’s no reason not to give this fine piece of urban fantasy a shout out now. Slayton is well on his way to creating an interesting and wholly engaging series for Adam Binder, his reluctant magic user.

Adam lives in a trailer in smalltown Oklahoma with his Aunt Sue. They both have The Sight because it runs through his father’s bloodline, but it’s meant nothing but trouble to Adam. He’s using it to try and track his long missing, abusive father, but a message from his brother, Bobby, derails those efforts. Though Bobby was responsible for having Adam committed to a mental institution in his teens, his being in Denver coincides with the next step Adam must take to find his father. When he arrives there, he finds his sister-in-law possessed by an ancient spirit that has already killed all the magicians in Denver, leaving it up to him to try and save her.

Slayton pulls out all the stops, re-imagining parts of Denver in the spirit world (including the old D&F tower on the cover), populated by elves, gnomes, and leprechauns with clocktower jails, haunted hospitals, and evil amusement parks. Richly detailed and sumptuously described, these beings and places would mean little, however, without strong characters to populate the bizarre landscape.

Adam and his brother Bobby are the real building blocks of the book. Adam’s insecurities about both his power and his self-image fuel his relationships with the elf siblings–one he has history with–who assist him in fighting the spirit invading the city. Similarly, Bobby’s guilt over not only committing Adam but about an even more evil deed I can’t relate (spoiler, y’know), seeds the ending and provides the bridge for the sequel.

Being a Denver resident, I also enjoyed seeing parts of my landscape highlighted and, in the case of Casa Bonita, the famous and famously bad Mexican restaurant, totally skewered. Little bits like that are tucked away like snacks only the locals will appreciate fully.

However, it doesn’t take a local to appreciate great characters, fine storytelling, and the vivid imagination of David R. Slayton. White Trash Warlock is a gem from start to finish, and I can’t wait for Trailer Park Trickster!

JW

© 2021 Jerry L. Wheeler

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