by Michael L. Peters
Self Published 2013
I was asked if I’d have an interest in reviewing this so I said send it to me and i’ll take a look at it and decide. I was immediately taken with the interior artwork and thought yeah I’ll review this for him. However I just finished reading this from start to finish and I have to be honest I found myself transported to a world I wasn’t expecting, caught swept up in and found myself wishing to be a part of what was happening. Very rarely do come across a story that reads like a novel and takes you on this kind of journey. I am very literally spellbound but this piece of literature I have before me and it’s very much literature in my eyes.
Crescent City Magick may refer to the city of New Orleans but it also very much put a spell on me as a reader. The black and white line work captures expressions and moods so much more powerfully than sometimes a coloured book can and while the cover is in colour and the girl is mesmerizing it’s really the way artwork on the pages make you feel as you read this. Trust me too you feel the story in your bones when you experience this it’s not just another persons attempt at creating something special instead this is something that before you realize it has taken a hold over you enveloped you in the characters lives and makes you believe in forces far beyond those rational people perceive.
Clayton Howard Woods is a troubled man and he’s running, constantly running but he doesn’t know why. For some reason he’s acutely aware that something isn’t right and he finds himself never staying in one place too long least something catch up to him. We see him for the first time setting off on a bus to New Orleans and immediately you cannot help but somehow connect to him. On the second page you see his face and it’s there as you see him pondering what his life is like and see his eyes looking so downtrodden, it’s an incredibly powerful image, that you don’t even realize you are in this till the end.
When we first meet Julia she sees him in her vision and you realize she’s a witch and not just any witch but one of the three most classically known witches in history, the Crone, the Mother and the Maiden. She’s the maiden just for clarification. It’s also a moment you think New Orleans and witches go hand in hand and the unknown connection they have is going to be interesting though in honesty you can not begin to fathom just how so.
So once Clayton is in New Orleans and working, cash jobs so he doesn’t have to cash checks, he is out of a night of drinking when we something that you know shouldn’t be a part of this story but there is in black and white staring at you. This encounter sets off a chain of events that lead Clayton to Julia. Before the two meet it’s Julia’s one-eyed cat, familiar, Pluto and again there is just this sense that this is real this is what can happen in this city of old magic.
There is a lot of information given to us throughout the second chapter background information that shows there is more to Clayton than he realizes and things that just confirm that this slip of a girl is a witch and a fairly powerful one at that. She can do things for and to people without them realizing it. Her dance at Jackson Square we see on paper still gives you the sensation she’s moving, seducing the onlookers and captivating the audience in ways you could only hope to imagine and experience.
This world that exists inside our own kind of like images in the corner of your eye that disappear when you try look that Julia introduces Clayton to have this bonding effect on them. Meeting Julia’s friends, even the bitch mode Bev, you see they have no real idea what she knows, can do and sees that they don’t. In this world there are vampires, wannabe vampires--hey remember what city they are in, zombies, fairy folk and quite possibly aliens though if you read the story, which I cannot recommend highly enough, you’ll see that the latter two may be one and the same but that’s open to interpretation.
There’s such honest characterization happening in these pages, between Julia’s no nonsense belief and Clayton’s rationalization turning towards acceptance and Bev’s intervention and over protective nature towards Julia, unrequited love perhaps?, is all told in such stark realness that forget these are fictional characters you’ve already found yourself living, breathing and caring about them without even realizing it.
This is about 100 pages of story and when I got to the end I was disappointed there wasn’t more. There are still questions in need of answering and more story to be told and you read the afterword by Michael because it’s simply a case of wanting more it’s like suddenly you have this void where the story, these characters and their world was and you’ve got an unconscious ache for more. This story doesn’t stay with you in the traditional sense it becomes a part of you ingrained in your memory and infused in your soul. That’s how powerful this really is because you suddenly have that inclination to contact Michael and hope he’s done so much more of the story in following two years since this.
If you’ve ever gotten caught up in novels by Anne Rice, J.K. Rowling and the like then the more subtle nature of this story will be of immense appeal to you. I’m a much better person for having experienced this story and I look forward to discovering if there is indeed more because this shouldn’t be the end.