Dorian Lake spent years cornering the Baltimore hex-crafting market, using his skills at the hermetic arts to exact karmic justice for those whom the system has failed. He keeps his magic clean and free of soul-corrupting Netherwork, thus avoiding both the karmic blow-back of his practice and the notice of the Presidium, a powerful cabal of practitioners that polices the esoteric arts in America. However, when an unscrupulous Netherworker interferes with both his business and his personal life, Dorian’s disarming charisma and hermetic savvy may not be enough to keep his soul out of jeopardy.
His rival, a soul monger named Neil Osterhaus, wouldn’t be such a problem were it not for Carmen, Dorian’s captivating ex-lover. After two years’ absence Carmen arrives at Dorian’s doorstep with a problem: she sold her soul to Osterhaus, and has only two weeks to buy it back. Hoping to win back Carmen’s affections, Dorian must find a replacement soul without tainting his own. As Dorian descends into the shadows of Baltimore’s underworld, he must decide how low he is willing to stoop in order to save Carmen from eternal damnation… with the Presidium watching, waiting for him to cross the line.
The Curse Merchant is an interesting, intriguing, urban fantasy, novel that begins with Dorian Lake in his office with a gun pointed at his head. Dorian is a curse merchant. What is that? He provides hexes and charms. Well, he was the man to see about that, but he no longer deals in that business. After breaking up with the love of his life and ruining her life, he has been living a life of limbo. One thing is definite – he does not deal in the dark arts. Never has. Never will.
He has to save the soul of his former lover and ends up straddling the line between good and evil. I found this very interesting. What would cause someone to go against their principles to do something to save someone they care about?
The author does a great job at taking the time to world build and introduce the characters at a pace that allows the reader to care about them. It is not rushed at all which makes it easy to get into and not want to put down. Good job, Mr. Sloan. Good job! I can’t wait to see how this series continues, because with a starter book like this it is bound to be good.