My Poetic Path

My journey…shared in poems, prose and photos.


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Book Review: Street Magic by William Hammett

street magic cover

Street Magic by William Hammett 

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.

My review:

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.


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By way of getting here….

How we got to where we are…I love those stories.

Always helps me to form a better “picture” of the person writing the story….Here’s a small window into mine.

 

 

Always helps me to form a better “picture” of the person writing the story….Here’s a small window into mine.

On writing:

 Definition of a journalist:

1 a : a person engaged in journalism especially : a writer or editor for a news medium b : a writer who aims at a mass audience.
2 : a person who keeps a journal.

 

I started out, many moons ago, to be a  journalist ( 1). Way back in the ‘dark ages’ …I headed to the big city of Toronto, 17 years young and green as the Prairie’s early spring wheat.     

What an experience it all was! To walk along Yonge Street (wow, skyscrapers!!) apparently the longest street in North America and probably the most famous in Canada. Being so far from home, being on my own for the first time, especially coming from a very small city by comparison, was heady stuff indeed. Happily it is all still there in my memory to savor, and it all comes back to me now. A good time in my life.

Life has taken many twists and turns since my days at Ryerson. Writing has always been a part of my life, sometimes more, sometimes too little, since my first trek to Toronto. Many places, loves and losses have come and gone. But what always remains, and what this blog again brings to mind, is my love for writing and for reading. And for the sheer joy of playing with a phrase or finding the perfect word (and that certainly doesn’t always happen) .

Just recently re-read: On Writing, by Stephen King and it continues to be one of my favorite books. Crammed full of insights into the man and his craft and gems of wisdom for his readers to utilize in writing and life in general.

Stephen has certainly taken a long and winding road to get to his place in the world today. But rich or poor, famous or not, the craft of writing is in the blood of all writers. It is there always, whether we are inspired or not and whether we are writing or not. But when it all comes together, it truly is magic.

To create more than we thought we had to give or to express. I am grateful to be a journalist ( 2) and a  paid writer (albeit part-time) and glad to be writing this story.

On this cold and windy Prairie night, it feels like the right place to be. 

PS: I wrote this story a couple of years ago and happened upon it recently, going through some of my archive posts over at Veggies…

Thought it might be of interest to some of my MPP readers.

Perhaps it will in turn inspire you to share some of your own writing experiences and memories. I look forward to reading them.