In Magic for a Price, the conclusion of Monk’s exceptional Allie Beckstrom series, the use of magic was altered dramatically. No longer a powerful force wielded by many, now only a few like soul complements Shame Flynn and Terric Conley are “breakers” who can restore magic to its full power. Shame and Terric were secondary characters in the original series, and they now move to center stage launching the Broken Magic spin-off, which is considerably grimmer and grittier than the previous.
Although they are soul complements, Shame and Terric have a very difficult relationship. While Terric controls Life Magic, Shame’s power is Death Magic and he is constantly having to control his instincts to devour life force energy. Unfortunately the government is making noises about gaining control of “breakers” and using them as weapons. However the more immediate concern is the murder of a “closer.” The magic signature of the killing indicates it could be the work of Eli Collins. If this is true, things are about to get very hazardous. (ROC, Nov., 368 pp., $7.99)