From the Amazon product page:
The people of Pace, Indiana, are jolted from their routine small-town lives when a street magician, Lark the Magnificent, begins staging one incredible show after another. There is seemingly nothing this man in an electric-blue suit can’t do, from levitating above the sidewalk to making it snow on a sunny day.
But Joe Bailey, meek bachelor and town archivist, notices that things in Pace aren’t quite right. People are going missing, stores are closing, and someone—or some thing—is living in a row of abandoned homes on River Road.
In this homage to Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, William Hammett has written a chilling novel in lyrical prose about the evil locked behind the doors of small-town America, an evil that Joe Bailey will have to combat with his own brand of street magic.
This book is quite a ways from my usual “genre comfort zone” with shades of Stephen King, in this tale of small town life and the dark secrets that are often kept for many years, behind closed doors.
I choose this one entirely based on my admiration for Hammett’s other books that I had read and not for the kind of story that I expected, based on the description. But as usual, Mr. Hammett did not disappoint.
Main character Joe Bailey is a quiet, reclusive man who has lived in Pace, Indiana for all of his 45 years. He spends most of his time alone, either at work as the town’s archivist or at home.
But Joe’s world is about to become a lot more complicated and exciting with the appearance of a strange new character in town: Lark the Magnificent. Able to perform tricks and illusions that go far beyond the usual realm of mere mortal magic, Lark begins by dazzling and delighting the town folk with his amazing feats, in the local town square. But soon, that magical power will go in a very different direction and will also take Joe Bailey and several of his boyhood friends on a bizarre and surreal journey they will never forget.
I’m not usually a fan of stories like this as mentioned already but I was soon drawn into the plot and found myself putting off other things I planned to do, wanting to find out what would happen next in the story. The characters truly come alive in the pages of this book. The plot moves along at a fast pace and there are plenty of surprises, twists and turns… along the way.
What really sets this novel apart from similar ones in this genre is the redemptive tone that is also there, along with the dark and sinister events of the story. That I really appreciated, especially the satisfying, albeit also sad ending, that wrapped up all the red herrings completely.
Street Magic is one of the best novels I have read in a long time. Original and engaging from start to finish. 🙂
And right now, it’s only $1 at Amazon, so a great time to download a copy of this (full-length) novel.
PS: Billy Hammett is a long-time blog pal of mine, although that does NOT make me biased in terms of his work. When it comes to reviews of any kind, I tell it like I see it or I don’t tell it at all! 😉
He has many books to his credit, penned under his own name and also as a ghost writer.
Billy is currently reissuing a number of his previous novels and short stories in Kindle format at Amazon, so stay tuned for more enjoyable reads from this talented and prolific author.