My Poetic Path

My journey…shared in poems, prose and photos.


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.


Review: John Lennon & the Mercy St. Cafe

John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café

Since I began My Poetic Path a couple of months ago, in addition to how wonderful it’s been to have a new creative venue to grow with and to share;  I have also been fortunate to have ‘met’ so many fascinating writers, poets and artists. It’s been one of the added perks of creating/hosting a new blog. 

One of my favorite new stops around ‘blogland’ is to visit the multi-talented Billy Hammett’s poetry/creative writing blog: Chapter and Verse.

Most days at Billy’s, there’s a thought-provoking new post to read and many times also to ponder, for days to come.

Billy is a gifted poet, novelist, teacher, ghost writer and blogger.

He also likes to flex his culinary skills on occasion and recently wrote a wonderful review of my vegetarian cookbook, Not Just for Vegetarians.

Do stop by and take a browse, over at Billy’s blog if you are not already a regular visitor. 

I was also fortunate to read Billy’s new novel: John Lennon & the Mercy Street CafeWhat a thrilling journey it turned out to be, from the first page to the last.

I won’t spoil the plot. Suffice to say, as with Billy’s other creative works that I have enjoyed to date; I was not disappointed by this exciting and fast-paced novel. Whether you were/are a true John Lennon/Beatle fan or not this is a terrific novel that rings true on a number of levels. Taking the reader on a magical tour, reminding us of John Lennon’s enduring message to “give peace a chance” , hope for the future and so much more.

Do add this to your list of “must reads”. You’ll be glad you did.

Here’s my review from Amazon:

Entertaining from start to finish!, ( April 27, 2008 )

I just finished reading this book and was truly impressed. Not only is this a fun read and a real page-turner; it also has a deep and compelling message for the reader to contemplate, throughout.

John Lennon spoke for and to a generation: “give peace a chance”, “imagine”, “strange days indeed” . William Hammett has captured Lennon’s charisma and character so well.

The story takes the reader on a journey that has many a twist and turn along the way and is indeed,magical and mysterious.

This is a novel that will appeal to anyone who enjoys a great read, Lennon fan or not. Buy it, read it, pass it along to a friend. A book you will truly enjoy and want to share.