Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Conquer: Fear of a Black Cat

Conquer: Fear Of A Black Cat (The John Conquer Series)Conquer: Fear Of A Black Cat by Edward M. Erdelac
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When John Conquer gets called to a crime scene, he's tasked with solving the grisly murder of the woman who raised him and a friend of hers. But how does that relate to his other case, tailing the daughter of Harlem's devil, King Solomon Keyes?

I loved the first Conquer collection and the sheer size of this thing surprised me. That's what she said. Anyway, this is 500+ pages of blaxploitation plus magic from various traditions.

This is one of those books where it's best to go in as cold as possible. Conquer's cases take him all over Harlem and the NYC area. There's some interaction with historical figures and places from the time of the tale, the hot summer of 1977. The private dick that's a hex machine with all the tricks goes up against all kinds of crazy shit.

I'm underselling this. Conquer goes through the wringer a couple times in this. Erdelac manages to tie everything together nicely at the end. I have to admit, I didn't see how all the threads would converge at first and a lot of time was spent on things that didn't seem important until they were. Erdelac plays with some PI fiction traditions and did his homework on the various magical practices, as usual. No D&D fireballs here.

Erdelac's writing has come along quite a bit since I first discovered the Merkabah Rider whenever that was. It feels a lot more confident now. I probably would have wolfed this down in one day if my kindle hadn't needed charging near the end. By the end, I was as spent as Conquer was.

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