M N Jolley is a creative professional born and raised in Kansas City, where he still lives. Working with a background in film and cinematography, he began writing seriously in 2016 and has recently completed “The Stone Warrior”, the first book in “The Sacrosanct Records”.
My name is Levi. I’m a journalist, I’m autistic, I’m bad at magic, and I swear I didn’t kill her.
Research for the paper usually falls into a few basic patterns. Someone in the city says there’s a troll under Buck O’Neil Bridge, or they’ll call just so a friendly ear will listen to them complain about a pixie infestation.
That sort of content carries me through slow news weeks. It’s rare that I uncover a murder.
Being framed for murder, though? That’s a first.
With the Wizard’s Council hunting me for a crime I didn’t commit, I’ve got no choice but to solve the murder and clear my name. If I don’t unravel this case, nobody will, and I’ll go down for it so hard I might never see the light of day again.
I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.
Levi is a journalist who specialises in magical news over the mundane. When he is unwittingly dragged into a murder conspiracy, he has to call in every favour the magical community owe him if he is to clear his name and make sure he makes it out alive. On the way he’ll make new friends, as well as a few enemies, but the case will put his investigation skills to the test, and it wont be long before he realises this case goes deeper than even he originally thought.
Levi has officially made it onto my list of favourite characters. He’s witty, a little cheeky at times, but he’s also just looking for somewhere where he feels accepted. His personality adds a levity to the story and makes for some laugh out loud moments that really help with breaking the tension in parts. Having heard a few bloggers talk about this book before going in, I did know that Levi was autistic, however, if I hadn’t known I don’t think I would have noticed. His behavioural traits are really subtly depicted and I did enjoy that it wasn’t kind of screamed in your face. Jolley also treats us to a wonderful cast of side characters from Levi’s friends in the magical community, to Ben the boy he meets for a date who ends up getting dragged into Levi’s mess (not that he minds too much.) They were all brilliantly brought to life, and all helped further the plot as well as Levi’s story.
Jolley blends a murder mystery in with fantasy elements and they made for one hell of a unique story. I loved how Levi wasn’t magical himself, rather he had inserted himself into that world after learning of it’s existence, because it really upped the stakes when he had magical people and beings chasing after him. As well as this the authors use of Ben as a character, a mundane being inducted into the world of the magical as we went through the story, was brilliantly done because it made sure we we’re never overwhelmed with information. Ben learnt things as he went, and so did we as the reader.
I loved how this book was told. We start at the end & then with flashbacks as Levi is being interrogated for murder, we learn what happened. It makes for a really unique reading experience, and I felt like I was there alongside Levi, learning things as soon as he did only to find out he was three steps ahead the whole time. I enjoyed how Jolley used the parallel timelines, when Levi is investigating the murder, and when he is being questioned about it, to perfectly break up the story, usually leaving us on slight cliffhanger moments, but they just ensured I wasn’t able to put the book down. The pacing in this book is super fast, but again it just made it harder to put down and I ended up finishing it in one sitting.
Overall this was a fast and fun story, filled with magic and some brilliantly written characters. I will definitely be checking out the other books in the series, and hope some of my favourite characters from book one will make a return.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.