Wells kicks off her edgy Prospero’s War series, which is set in a world where magic has the same corrosive effect as drug addiction. The captivating Dirty Magic centers on cop Kate Prospero, whose tragic connection to magic has set her on mission to take down peddlers of destructive and addictive potions. Wells works her own brand of magic by laying the foundation for a complex and gritty new mythos starring a damaged, yet resilient, heroine.
As a patrol cop in Babylon, Kate is used to seeing the ugly underbelly of society. Magic, both legal and illegal, has caused rifts between the Mundane and Adept populations. Once a gifted potion maker herself, Kate turned her back on her Adept heritage following her mother’s tragic death. Kate now works as a cop while raising her 16-year-old brother, Danny. When a routine patrol has Kate confronting a werewolf eating its prey, she learns of a ghastly new potion hitting the streets. Kate is then asked to join the Magic Enforcement Agency task force, never dreaming the evidence trail could lead deep into her own past. (ORBIT, Jan., 400 pp., $10.00)