Friday, February 21, 2014

Known Devil by Justin Gustainis

Stan Markowski is a police officer at Scranton PD's Occult Crimes Unit.  All sorts of craziness is going on in his town, and it's up to him and his partner to solve the issues.  What it boils down to, it's better to deal with the Devil you know than the one you don't.  A knew drug-dealing crime boss is looking to take over the town, and in doing so has introduced a new drug to the area.  Slide, as it's called on the street, is the first drug to have an effect on supernaturals, well, other than Goblins.  Goblins and their meth issues are a whole other book. 
Slide, politics, and thugs from out of town are causing a mess everywhere.  There's death, destruction and mayhem.  But, how do you solve a crime spree when technically no crimes are being committed and everyone higher up is dirty?
This is my first Occult Crimes Unit Investigation book.  I know it isn't the first published.  I had an easy time picking it up and figuring out what was going on.  There were allusions to things that had happened in previous books, but I didn't have to actually read them in order to enjoy the book. I'd like to go back and read the others, but this one is just fine as a stand-alone.  The characters are intriguing and inviting and Gustainis has a natural knack for crime storytelling.  The fact that supernaturals are added just makes it that much more fun and unique.
For me, this was a great cross between CSI and Men in Black.  It's nothing like either of those things, however, so I'm not sure where I'm getting my reasoning on this.  It has that dark, crime feeling to it. You know there are some nasty things going on, and it's dark and gritty, with the occasional laugh tossed in there.  At the same time, it has that magical feel to it.  You find yourself in a place where vampires are in therapy and gnomes hat conical hats.  It's sort of this amazing half-breed of dark/dirty and fantasy.
If you've read any of the other books, you already know if this is up your alley or not.  For those who haven't, there's plenty of action and the unusual to keep you well-entertained.  You easily figure out who's behind all the problems about halfway through the book, but the fun part is actually in watching them figure out what to do about it.  Instead of solving the mystery, you get to be involved in the next step, how to fix it!

Reviewed for Minding Spot

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