What begins as a routine missing person case for Seattle’s best private investigator, Dick Hunter, turns into a personal vendetta against a cruel murderer. The murderer, Mort des Hommes, happens to be a hell spawn possessing powerful magic.
In order to solve the case and avenge a death, Dick Hunter has to take a crash course in magic from the angelic Amie, and gather magical animal familiars in order to battle and defeat Mort des Hommes.
When I recall what I saw that day, I can scarce but wonder why I didn’t go insane. On the ground was the body of Mr. Hollis, bloody and torn but still barely alive and breathing. He was twitching on the grass like a chopped up inchworm. One arm was detached from the rest of his body, the hand clinched into a fist. Dangling freely from his torso was his intestines, pulled out from a huge gash in his lower stomach area. Blood flowed freely from many wounds. Blood splattered Mr. Hollis’ face, too; and by the looks of things, it was his own blood at that.
There was a man looming menacing over his tortured body: a white gentleman about a decade into AARP membership, slim and in good shape, with cold blue eyes and a tuft of white hair sticking out from under his smoke gray derby hat. He’s wearing a black suit with a white shirt and simple black tie, a long gray wool coat over his suit. He held a spear in his right arm, the tip of it pointed at Mr. Hollis’ forehead.
I couldn’t simply stand and watch the murder of a man without attempting to stop it, so I pulled out my sidearm and aimed it at the old man that looked like a reject from The Godfather movies. “Drop the spear!” I ordered.
The old man looked at me as if he hadn’t noticed that I was there beforehand. A sinister and arrogant smile formed across his pale face. He spread open his arms as he faced me—he was daring me to shoot him!
I wasn’t going to shoot him as long as he didn’t threaten me. I was hoping he wouldn’t, because that would be a heck of a lot of paperwork to fill out at the police station. I was hoping that he would let go of the weapon he borrowed from Fred Flintstone and allow me to apprehend him and call the police. But, of course, life’s never that easy, right?
The old fart turns and aims the spear at me, putting me in a tight situation. I have the more deadly weapon, so if I shoot and kill this old man, it might appear to be an act of abusing my gun privileges. If I don’t shoot, I’ll end up with a spear through my neck. I did the only logical thing I could do: I shot the old man in his shoulder.
The first shot seemed to do nothing to the old man. I had excellent aim, and I was close enough to the target that even if my aim sucked balls I still would’ve hit him. But there was nothing on the old man, not even a scratch.
I fired three more times, all with the same results as the first. It was as if the bullets, as they drew closer to him, ceased existing.
That’s when the old man gazed at me with his wicked smile, and, not even looking at his victim on the ground, rammed his spear through Mr. Hollis’ temple. He removed the spear with a jerk. Brain chunks and blood splattering everywhere. He winked at me and slowly turned to walk away. I fired two more rounds, without hitting him, until the old man vanished. That’s right; he vanished, like a specter or hologram.
My mind was having trouble making sense of the nonsense that just transpired. One thing I did know was that Benny-boy wasn’t in such good shape. I had to be quick. I dashed to the body and dropped to my knees. I stared at the corpse.
I shook my head at the dead body and whispered, “Why did you die? What did you die for, man?” I sighed and then walked over to where his arm lay. I lifted it up to rejoin it with his body. As I did so, a pebble and a pack of matches fell from his grasp. I placed the arm across his chest and retrieved the fallen pebble and matches. The matches were from some place called Amie’s House of Spirits; I placed both items in my coat pocket. That’s when I heard the police sirens and decided to disappear from the scene of the crime before I spent the rest of the night answering questions at the precinct.
Detective Dick Hunter is back!
Dick and comrades defeated Wicked Jinn Mort des Hommes in a climatic battle at the Gates of Hades. Though stopped of his ultimate goal of world domination, Mort was able to release twelve demons into the world–and Dick Hunter blames himself.
To put an end to the demonic threat, Dick Hunter and Amie–a former Pleasant Jinn and
Dick’s current lover–accompany an old friend, Pleasant Jinn Guy, across the country on a demon hunting spree. More action, adventure and wisecracks await in the next installment in the genre-bending, fourth-wall-breaking Detecting Magic with Dick Hunter series.
The talking pigeon was really an Aura elemental familiar under contract with Guy. There are six types of elementals, and they often times work with Jinn–Pleasant and Wicked–to help them complete missions. They’re needed in order to weaken or seal Jinn. Well, from my experience, they were necessary as distractions, so to speak. Just another body for the enemy to fight while the human of the group attempts to seal or weaken the Jinn.
I could go on about elementals and sealing Jinn and shit, but I already covered that enough in the previous book. You guys should go check that out if you hadn’t already.
But the main thing was that this filthy little pigeon had some valuable information. Apparently, there’s a new designer drug that hit the streets of Baltimore called sublime. It’s a pill people ingest. According to the Aura, sublime alters the body, I think something to do with dumping extra adrenaline into the blood, and the blimer (the person who’s popping sublime–seriously, I couldn’t make this shit up even if I tried) gets the strength of Superman, able to lift cars and shit. And they get hungry. Blimers get a strange craving for human flesh, and they have the strength to bite off large chunks with their teeth. Not pretty.
So yeah, that’s really a fucked up situation in Charm City. NARCs were up to their chests in cases, the police commissioner and mayor were under scrutiny, and folks were dying by the scores–getting eaten alive. Often by their buddy they just popped sublime with. There were hunger houses–basically crack houses for blimers–all over the city, thanks to about 1,500 or so blighted and condemned houses. Once uncovered, they’d be two or three or more half and fully devoured bodies found in them. Disturbing shit.
Before he left for Seattle, Guy had felt the presence of two demons in Baltimore. However, he didn’t have an agitator or a Thanos Stone or even the humans to wield them. Which was why he told his Aura to keep tabs on things in Tubman City while he went to gather Amie and I from the west coast. I wished he had said something earlier. Jinn and their goddamn secrets.
Guy definitely thought it was the Addiction demon that was spreading around sublime. Only a demon could manufacture a drug with an agent that could alter human physiology as drastically as sublime did, or so said Guy. Amie agreed with him. I just kept quiet, looking pretty, because I had no idea what they were talking about.
Anyway, the next day Guy’s Aura returned with more news for us . . .
“Guy, Guy,” squawks the Aura. “I overheard this from one of the dealers. There is a big shipment of sublime coming tonight at the docks. Taj, the biggest sublime supplier in the city, is always there during a shipment.”
Guy nods and throws a handful of bread crumbs at it. “Merci. You have done well. Time for rest, non?”
The pigeon mumbles, “Thank you,” as it eagerly pecks at the crumbs.
Guy joins Amie and me at the kitchen table. “You suspect this Taj guy is really Addiction?” I say.
“Oui. And if he is not, the real demon will most likely be the one dropping off the large shipment.”
“I wonder why all the subterfuge,” I say. “If the demon is manufacturing sublime, why go through all the trouble of having it shipped in?”
Guy shrugs. Amie says, “That’s a good question. Maybe the shipment is only the materials needed to manufacture sublime.”
Eh, that’s a sickening thought. I remember the ingredients Mort used to make his hellhound canines. I’m sure what the demon uses to make sublime is nasty, and possibly human.
“Well, there’s only one way to find out.”
Guy laughs and shakes his head at me. Then he gets up from the table. “I am going to pray and cleanse myself for tonight.”
Amie gets up too. “I’m going to mediate.”
They both walk out of the kitchen, leaving me alone with a damn pigeon.
I had a couple of hours to kill, so I decided to go out for a walk. The city seemed, I don’t know, nicer since the last time I visited. The area was relatively clean for a city with over half a million people. I didn’t know where I was going, so I just kept walking. Somehow my feet led me to a bar.
I went in, sat at the counter, and ordered a whiskey on the rocks. An Orioles game played on a big flat screen TV behind the bar. I sipped my drink and got lost in the strikes and balls.
I admit, I was a bit put off how Amie just left me right after Guy got up. Was I jealous? Slightly. But those two knew things I didn’t. They both have lived hundreds of years. One was a Jinn possessing unbelievable magic, the other was formerly a Jinn. I was the odd man out in this threesome; I was the third wheel.
Into my fourth drink I realized alcohol wasn’t going to change any of that. Wasn’t going to help it any, either. I paid my tab and then shuffled on back to Guy’s apartment.
Person. Storyteller. Work-in-progress. A. Jarrell Hayes began writing at a young age; his first books being handwritten and illustrated stories similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure titles he loved. In 2004 he published his first two “official” books, Heart and Soul of a Thinker (poetry) and Crowning of the Good King (fantasy). Since then, he has written seven poetry collections, four fantasy novels, three short story collections and a handful of chapbooks. His work has appeared in over 20 publications, online and in print. His visual art has been on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and the Eubie Blake Jazz and Cultural Center in Baltimore. He began publishing poetry under the name A. J. Hayes in 2013. A list of his published works is available here.
In 2013 he founded a small publishing press called Hidden Clearing Books, LLC (now closed). He has judged contests for the aforementioned press and for the Maryland Writer’s Association. He is a freelance editor and book consultant (hire him here).
He currently lives in Maryland. He invites you to subscribe to his free eNewsletter and contribute to his Patreon.
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