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Friday, January 10, 2020

The Locust Job by Craig Schaefer (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Long Way Down 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The White Gold Score 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Redemption Song 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Living End 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of A Plain-Dealing Villain
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Killing Floor Blues
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Castle Doctrine
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Double Or Nothing
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Neon Boneyard
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Sworn To The Night
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Detonation Boulevard
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Winter's Reach 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Instruments Of Control 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Harmony Black
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Red Knight Falling
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Glass Predator
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Cold Spectrum
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Right To The Kill
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Ghosts Of Gotham
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of The Loot
AUTHOR INFORMATION: Craig Schaefer was born in Chicago and wanted to be a writer since a very young age. His writing was inspired by Elmore Leonard, Richard Stark, Clive Barker & H. P. Lovecraft. After reaching his 40th birthday he decided to give in to his passion and since then has released twelve novels in the last three years. He currently lives in North Carolina and loves visiting museums and libraries for inspiration.

OFFICIAL BOOK BLURB: The first story ever told left a scar on the skin of the universe, with its characters doomed to an endless cycle of reincarnation and death. Trapped by his enemies, Daniel Faust — magician, mobster, and newly-minted knight of hell — has been cast in the role of the eternal Thief. Now the story is dead-set on writing his final chapter, the one that ends with a knife in his back.

The curse can’t be broken without tracking down the original Thief. The truth is buried beneath the legacy of a long-dead stage magician and a cache of occult relics from the 1940s, but Daniel and his crew aren’t the only hunters on this trail: so is a deadly new contender who blends sorcery with science, armed with a link to Daniel’s past — and a cult he thought he had destroyed long ago.

The doomsday clock is ticking, and more than Daniel’s own life is at stake. To save the day he’ll have to pull off the most daring heist of his criminal career, stealing a priceless treasure from a reality-bending madman, or die trying.

FORMAT/INFO: The Locust Job is 272 pages long divided over forty-one chapters with an epilogue, “The Story So Far…” section & an afterword. Narration is in the first-person, via Daniel Faust for forty chapters, Tangerine for a singular chapter and a different third-person narrative for the epilogue. This is the ninth volume of The Daniel Faust series.

January 1, 2020 marked the North American e-book publication of The Locust Job and it was self-published by the author. Cover art and design is by James T. Egan of Bookfly Design.

CLASSIFICATION: Featuring a cast of anti-heroes and with a magician con-man as the protagonist, the Daniel Faust series is Richard Stark's Parker crossed with The Dresden Files and set in Las Vegas.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Locust Job is the end of the third arc of the Daniel Faust series, and while it’s a fitting end to the arc. It’s not the end of the story as was the case with the previous two story arcs. In fact the author breaks his pattern and does something absolutely devious. You'll have to RAFO but rest assured there's some pretty epic things planned down the road with not one, not two but many more antagonists.

The Locust Job as the title suggests is a very specific thing which the readers of the Daniel Faust books know about. This book is set immediately after the events of the Wisdom’s Grave trilogy and hence we get to witness the somber aftermath. The plot which we have been following since the start of the third arc is all about the death sentence that is the “Thief” title on Faust’s shoulders. In the previous two books, Faust and gang have been slowly and surely trying to figure more about what being the “Thief” means. It all comes down to the Story and the Enemy’s machinations about his eventual plan for this earth.

This book’s main plot deals with simple ramification of being the Thief and the Thief’s eventual prophesied end. Faust is slowly finding out how insidious the Story is and how easily the universe bends people’s lives to fit the Story’s patterns (also seen in Bring The Fire so horrendously). The story also has some specific plot ties to Redemption Choir (book 2) as well as Sixty-Seven Seconds (Craig’s short story in the Urban Enemies anthology) which was great to read. Plus the biggest draw of this book is that it deals with the Enemy’s obsession with Howard Canton and what makes Canton so special. Lastly similar to previous titles, there’s plots within plots and also an ending that is just balls out bonkers.

You have to hand it to Craig Schaefer, he’s been planning the First Story saga for quite a while and you can see some of his machinations as we get revelations and plot twists that have been set up since the second book as well as in the Harmony Black series. I always appreciate an author who has taken the time to plan a saga like this, combining several genres and making sure that we readers are kept on our toes. Hands down Craig Schaefer is writing the best the urban fantasy genre has to offer and he’s making his series unique by adding huge dollops of noir and epic fantasy to it as well.

This story won me over with its ultimate reveal about Howard Canton and why the Enemy was so interested in Canton's history & paraphernalia . This track about Howard Canton’s magic artifacts has been initiated since book 6 and it’s in book 9, we get a spectacular answer as to why that might be. Plus there’s the wonderful tie-in with the Sixty-Seven Seconds short story (featuring a character from that story) which was an excellent read in itself and what it heralds for the future is truly spectacular. This just isn’t for Faust but for several other characters and one of my personal theories about the Paladin was just confounded partially by the author.

Lastly as always with any Craig Schaefer book, characterization is a strength that’s undeniable. The Locust Job is no exception and we get a return of one of my favorite non-POV characters. The story ends on such a stupendous note and if you are like me, then the next book is going to be another must-read which is exactly what he deviously intended (damn you Schaefer).

CONCLUSION: The Locust Job is another five-star read nothing more, nothing less & easily one of 2020's top reads for me. By this point, you either are deeply enamored by Faust and his friends and can’t wait to read all about this world or you haven’t heard about these books (in which case, what the hell is wrong with you? Get started on them ASAP) so you can also join me and the millions (and millions) of Schaefer fans eagerly awaiting his next deviously plotted book.



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