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Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Book Review: Dead Man’s Hand (The Unorthodox Chronicles Book 1) By James J. Butcher

Dead Man’s Hand (The Unorthodox Chronicles Book 1)
by James J. Butcher
October 11, 2022
Publisher: Ace
ISBN: 9780593440414
On the streets of Boston, the world is divided into the ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox. And in the Department of Unorthodox Affairs, the Auditors are the magical elite, government-sanctioned witches with spells at their command and all the power and prestige that comes with it. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby is…not one of those witches.

After flunking out of the Auditor training program and being dismissed as “not Department material,” Grimsby tried to resign himself to life as a mediocre witch. But he can’t help hoping he’ll somehow, someway, get another chance to prove his skill. That opportunity comes with a price when his former mentor, aka the most dangerous witch alive, is murdered down the street from where he works, and Grimsby is the Auditors’ number one suspect.

Proving his innocence will require more than a little legwork, and after forming a strange alliance with the retired legend known as the Huntsman and a mysterious being from Elsewhere, Grimsby is abruptly thrown into a life of adventure, whether he wants it or not. Now all he has to do is find the real killer, avoid the Auditors on his trail, and most importantly, stay alive.

Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby had flunked the Auditor training program and was called “not Department material,” so nothing more than a mediocre witch he got a job at a fast food restaurant, wearing costumes and doing magic of sorts for children’s parties and cleaning the restrooms and more. Not much, bought food and paid the bills. Then the most dangerous witch alive, Mansgraf, who also happened to be the mentor who flunked him was found, murdered with the words "
Kill Grimsby” scrawled in her blood beside her. The only person to see that was Les Mayflower, aka the Huntsman, who had been her former partner until he retired. And now, he would go hunt Grimsby for the murder, and most of all, find the dangerous thing Mansgraf had hidden, vowing to keep it out of Department hands.

Although well written, it still garnered 4 over 5 sheep for me, as the character was more lukewarm than hot. He did a lot of screaming and was sorta so-so, unlike what the author’s father, Jim Butcher, did with his Dresden character. And yet, as we got to the second portion of the book, Grimsby began to become more likable. Even Mayflower went from wanting to kill everything to being more human. Which is why this is 4 sheep. Because it has promise.

I gave Dead Man’s Hand 4 sheep.

Reviewed by Pamela K. Kinney

About the Author:
James J. Butcher spends most of his time in places that don’t exist; some of which he even made himself. What little time he has left is usually spent writing or exercising. He is the son of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher, who introduced him to books, movies and games. He lives in Denver, and is working on his next novel.

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