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Modern Sorcery (Jonathan Shade, #1) by Gary…
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Modern Sorcery (Jonathan Shade, #1)

by Gary Jonas

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My original Modern Sorcery audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

Jonathan Shade is a private investigator with a twist – he gets the cases with a paranormal twist to them. Why? He’s good at it, he’s the son of a powerful wizard family and while he does not have any magical powers of his own, he knows enough about it to solve mysteries. When a husband enters a Colorado grocery store and hacks up his wife – both of whom are parents to his ex-fiancé – well, Jonathan has no choice but to get involved.

Naomi, his ex-fiancé hires him to prove his father’s innocence (the proof is in the camera evidence – he did it!). Thus begins his involvement and near misses with death with members of the Dragon Gate Industry; owned and ran by wizards and other magical members of society Dragon Gate Industry. A long dead and legendary sorcerer appears to be back and is hunting Shade - Shade has that effect on people.

Shade has connections too – like Charon, the ferryman of the underworld now known as Sharon the librarian; Kelly, a genetically produced mystical assassin/warrior; Esther the ghost and more.

Shade is a laid back, smart mouth man who takes sarcasm to new levels; his friend Kelly is a butt kicking assassin/warrior who begs to kill; Esther his own personal ghost swoops in and helps save the day more than once! Together this team of private investigators is top-notch, action-packed, and fun!

Gary Jonas creatively weaves a supernatural story that captures his audience with realistic dialog and action. His characters are well-developed as is the plot. He skillfully weaves a supernatural story around the myths of old intertwining the two and placing them in today’s society.

I enjoyed reading Jonathan Shade and look forward to the next in the series. I am positive that the next book(s) will not disappoint! I laughed out loud and earned several questioning looks, but it was worth it!

Joe Hempel did a superb job of narrating. He took the character Jonathan and made it his own. As the listener I could not help but be swept away into the story as Hempel took control and became Shade. This is not something that is done easily but Hempel succeeds where others fail.

There were no issues with production.

Audiobook was provided for review by the narrator. ( )
  audiobibliophile | May 2, 2016 |
Modern Sorcery (Jonathan Shade #1) by Gary Jonas is a fun, fast, humorous fantasy that I loved from page one. It has ghosts, wizards, an evil spirit, other entities, action, adventure, lots of fighting, humor, and a touch of romance, and did I mention humor? This book has the hero, a PI, non-magical, but works with magic folk. He reminds me of Harry Dresden in some ways. His partner, although a women, reminds me of Sandman Slim in some ways. What a pair! There is a murder of his ex-flames parents and she wants it solved although it on tape and witnessed. But all is not as it appears. Not a page goes by that isn't action packed and humorous. Our hero also has a resident ghost from the 20's, a cute flapper, she is my favorite. Love this story. Starting book 2 next! The poor reviews must come from people that don't read fantasy because this is what fantasy is all about! ( )
  MontzaleeW | Mar 1, 2016 |
*3.5 stars
*This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBlast dot com, at my request.

Jonathan returns to his office to find a client waiting. Naomi Miller. Who is also his ex who left when he asked her to marry him. Naomi wants to hire Jonathan to find her father's innocence, for killing his wife and her mother. There is solid evidence against David, but Naomi hopes Jonathan will find evidence of magic being used on David. What starts as a simple cut and dry case turns into more when Jonathan learns of powerful crystals that were guarded by David, and are to be destroyed. Now whoever is after the crystals housing the spirit of a dangerous wizard, are after Naomi. And Jonathan is determined not to let anything happen to the woman he still loves.

This is a first for me listening to Joe Hempel voice a story. Joe does slight softness and hardness differences in his voice for the woman and men. The narrator also does a southern accent done for a character. The story is from Jonathan's POV, so the story is mainly one voice except when others are talking. I didn't notice that there was much variation in voices though. Joe's voice is clear and easy to understand. The quality of the air around him is clean which makes it easy to listen to the story without distraction.

The story feels as it's light with the jokes Jonathan makes. The writing is easy to follow as we go along in the story finding what Naomi's true agenda is in hiring Jonathan. We are introduced to those that surround Jonathan in a progression that we won't forget them.

First we meet Esther. Oh I loved Esther from the first moment we see her in the very first sentence of the story. She wears a flapper dress as that's what she died in. Then we meet Kelly, his partner in business and who teaches martial arts. There is a story to Kelly, and I'm looking forward to getting more and more with each story. She's strong and something special. It seems she was made this way from the things we learn here. We do meet a detective that is Jonathan's connection to the police. Then we meet Sharon. Aaah. We learn Sharon has her own troubles and history too. This is another very, very interesting past I look forward to hearing about. Of course I can't forget about Jonathan! He's one that comes across with a great sense of humor. He doesn't make me bust out laughing, but I see his humor as trying to break the ice, whether of a tense situation because of conversation topic or fighting with the bad guy. It felt as though there is a potential for Jonathan mentioned at the end of the book. I'm curious where his ability will go in time.

This was a nice start to a series that feels light, fun and interesting to read. I got my cases for Jonathan to solve, that is more than meets the eye, along with action and fighting with magic. There is resolve to the story yet I'm still curious to carry on with the characters and learn their secrets. I do hope to continue with the series! ( )
  MelHay | Jan 31, 2016 |
Set in modern day Denver, private investigator Jonathan Shade is hired by his ex-girlfriend Naomi Miller to look into the murder of her mother Cathy by her own husband David. Plenty of witnesses and the store camera all say there’s no doubt as to how it went down. However, Naomi won’t rest until someone looks into the paranormal side of things. Jonathan doesn’t think there was any magic involved, but he hopes the case will give him a chance at getting back with Naomi. As he digs into it, more and more mysteries pop up, along with enemies willing to kill him and his friends.

This was a very entertaining urban fantasy. I listened to it in two large chunks (had to sleep in between) and am already queuing up Book 2. First, I really enjoyed that all the major characters jump on scene with back histories. That definitely added depth to the story. Jonathan has this old history with Naomi that can’t be ignored due to present circumstances. Kelly Chan, Jonathan’s business partner, also has a a most interesting past, being a kind of supernatural guardian warrior called a sekutar. Then there is Esther, a ghost from the 1920s that is tied to an old typewriter. Later, the librarian Sharon comes into play, but she doesn’t work at a normal library. Each character brings a little something to the table as soon as they walk on the stage.

The book has a really good balance of action, character development, and time for contemplation and problem solving. I was never bored and I never got battle fatigue. As the story moves away from the initial murder, we learn about a long-dead powerful wizard that may some how be involved. Of course, figuring all this out means digging into the secrets of the wizard community, and they are a prickly bunch. Jonathan heads over to Dragon Gate Industries (DGI) to chat with Al, who was at the murder scene. I liked that it was hard to tell where Al stood on all this. I was kept guessing throughout the story if he was a friend or foe. And he wasn’t the only character that had me guessing! Others, such as Anselma (head of DGI) and Cantrell (who has a Western drawl) seemed they could go either way.

Then there is Kelly Chan. Wow! She runs this martial arts dojo and also acts as Jonathan’s personal body guard. Her sekutar powers allow her to take injuries that would completely disable mortals. She has opinions. She’s not afraid to share those opinions. Sometimes her method of sharing means shoving you up against a wall and putting a weapon in your face. No worries. She’s just making sure you’re listening. I really enjoyed her character. She brought a lot of blunt humor and blunt force trauma to the tale.

We have great characters and a great plot. This is where some authors stop. It’s not a bad place to stop, but I definitely appreciate that this author took it to the next level. He gave us a worthy bad guy. This bad guy isn’t easily tricked or trapped or defeated. Nope! Our heroes have to put their heads together and set aside some grudges with part-time enemies in order to stand a chance against this guy. Also, not everyone gets out unscathed. I truly appreciate that last bit because it makes the story poignant. That added weight makes me care for the characters that much more.

Go check out this series. If you’re looking for a new urban fantasy to satisfy your craving, then you won’t be disappointed in this one.

I received a copy at no cost from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Joe Hempel did some fine work on this one. I have listened to several of his books by now and I think this is his best work yet. It’s obvious that he enjoyed narrating this novel as much as I enjoyed listening to it. His character voices are all distinct and his female voices are believable. He had to do some accents as well and they were done well. Kelly Chan has a light Asian accent and the ghost Esther has a 1920s vocabulary of sayings and a distinctive accent. Hempel also did a great job of imbuing certain scenes with the right amount of emotion. ( )
  DabOfDarkness | Dec 31, 2015 |
I grabbed this book as a free promotion from Amazon. I read it after reading another book that was dripping with despair and needed something light to lift me up. I am very glad I read it. It was a very interesting book.

This book should completely be classified as urban fantasy - but it lacked werewolves and vampires, a complete 'win' to me. The novel reads like the old Dashiell Hammett detective stories - only the customer is a wizard and the detective is immune to magic. Jonathan consorts with a ghost and a magical warrior - one that heals quickly and does not feel pain. He also has a friend whose complete abilities are never quite revealed, only teased throughout the novel. In addition, he has a friend on the police force, as any good PI should have.

I did really enjoy this book. Right up until the end. I felt like it rushed to a climax and the end was more clicheish than it needed to be - almost like the author ran out of ideas. I typically like short, almost choppy, sentences and roll my eyes at any depth of description and detail. But, there is a happy medium. While I did not really feel any lack of detail, I did feel like the sentences could have been more fully developed. That being said, it was absolutely the only writing detail I found lacking. There were no heavy grammatical mistakes that jumped out at me and I felt it a very professional publication. ( )
  SnowNSew | Oct 2, 2013 |
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