by John Levitt
Half way through chapter one of this book, I began get a very familiar feeling as if I was entering a fictional neighborhood I’d been to before. Mason is a jazz guitarist who lives in
The word wizard is never used, rather Mason tells us immediately that there are people who can “do” magic and those that cannot. Whoa, now where have we heard that before? Of course it is Harry Potter’s setting, the non-magic folks being the muggles. That is what DOG DAYS reminded me of from start to finish, as if I’d stepped into a mature version of a J.K. Rowlings adventure.
Like Harry, Mason also has a pet ally, a small brown dog named Louie who is much better realized as a character then Harry’s owl ever was. Levitt develops the relationship between Mason and Lou so deftly, it becomes one of the major plot points to what is actually a very fast paced suspense mystery. An unknown practitioner, the word replacing wizard here, has attacked Mason on several occasions and both times nearly killed him. Desperate to understand why his life is suddenly in jeopardy, Mason seeks out the help of Victor, an Enforcer who oversees the magical well-being of the city, and his old mentor, Eli, another powerful practitioner.
As much as Levitt uses magic throughout the story, he never allows it to drift free, keeping his reality-anchor in check throughout. Much like the Rowlings books, because we believe in the mundane, normal every day environment the protagonist lives in is our own, we can then suspend our disbelief and imagine a secret realm co-existing in the shadows, just a little askew from our vision. A place of deadly arcane goblins and crystalline cave dwelling monsters that Mason must escape and defeat before he can hope to unravel the mystery and the villainy behind it.
It is a terrific story, well plotted and written. Mason and Lou are fascinating and I’m thrilled to know DOG DAYS will have sequels. I enjoyed taking this journey through the fog enshrouded, magical streets of the