Every so often you run across a new author you haven’t read before and they tell you a story that’s unique compared to anything you’ve read recently. Crimes Against Magic by Steve McHugh was one of those books for me. I’ve read a lot of fantasy novels, seen a lot of magic systems, and enjoyed a good tale full of suspense and action plenty of times, but Crimes Against Magic, despite being all of those things, hooked me in pretty well and I wound up reading the whole book in the span of a day and a half.
Nate Garrett is a rather interesting character. He’s been alive for a very long time and he has some very powerful magic he can harness at will. Who he really is, and why he currently lives in modern times is a mystery for the reader, and it remains that way all the way through the end of the book. There are a few hints as to Nate’s past, particularly the flashback chapters that show him taking on evil sorcerers in the 1400s, but even with all of those hints and clues I was left with more questions than answers. Here’s the thing though, I did not mind the mystery in the slightest. It worked. In a lot of other books it would not have, but in this one it worked.
I also enjoyed the setup of Nate being a high-end thief, and being dragged into protecting a girl who lives next door against his will. He soon realizes why she is so important, and then he buys into why he needs to help. He still has a bit of a reckless side while doing so though, which kept things interesting while reading. Nate has a few friends that help him along the way, some of which are mobsters, some who are vampires, and others who just find him attractive. It’s a ragtag type of crew, but they manage to get the job done.
Nate’s past is filled with some very powerful people. Some of them good, some of them very bad, but all of them powerful beyond imagination. I liked how Steve McHugh took old figures of lore like King Arthur and the knights of the round table and reworked their history in a way to make the story seem a little deeper. I wasn’t planning on reading any more than this first book because I only had it as a free offer from Amazon, but McHugh built a world that seems like its worth following along on the ride for a little bit longer.
I don’t know if I can recommend that everyone will enjoy Crimes Against Magic as it does have a decent amount of sex in its pages for a book in this genre, but if that sort of thing is not going to bother you, it might be worth the time to read. It would make a great book to read on a vacation, or day away at the beach. Fun, engaging, and quick to finish, just what that the doctor ordered sometimes.