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Dark Magic (Peter Warlock #1)

3.1  ·  Rating Details ·  460 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Peter Warlock is a magician with a dark secret. Every night, he amazes audiences at his private theater in New York, where he performs feats that boggle the imagination. But his day job is just a cover for his otherworldly pursuits: Peter is a member of an underground group of psychics who gaze into the future to help prevent crimes. No one, not even his live-in girlfriend ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Tor Books
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Jul 12, 2012 Miles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was boring and poorly written. There was never any real threat to the protagonist, if he needed to so something he always had some sort of power, or a friend that did. Need to find a file? Computer hacking friend... need to find a person, witch with the power to do so. He also had the amazing ability to jump to correct conclusions with little or no effort.

There was also the girl friend. She leaves him about every four pages, comes back, and leaves again. Peter(our protagonist), is deal
I made it through a little over 50% of this book but couldn't force myself to keep reading. The main protagonist is Peter Warlock and he's a twenty something whose parents were murdered when he was a young child. He was raised by several of his parent's magical friends who he still meets with once a week for séances. At the most recent meeting he'd seen an evil guy destroying Times Square. I suppose as a paranormal premise that's as good as any other but so many of the plot points are derivative ...more
I would have liked this much more without G/F Eliza, she ruined this book for me with her you aren't being honest with me Peter, I am leaving for the 4th time in the last 1/2 of this book. I rolled my eyes right out of my head. It was too much and detracted from the book. I didn't care for how that part was handled...really. Be proud of who you are Peter, Warlock or Demon, someone out there will love you just for you...honest!!! :-) I do have the next book in the series to read and am ok with th ...more
May 22, 2012 Marlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted at Reading Reality

Dark Magic by James Swain is one of those books that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. Take one part Batman, one part A Discovery of Witches, one part Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and one part The Prestige, mix well, and what you have is one hell of a story. I almost forgot, add in a touch of either the X-Files or Men in Black, just for flavor.

Peter Warlock is the leader of the Friday Night Psychics. Who are the Friday Night Psychics? Just what they sound like, a
Jul 06, 2012 Jeff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
One star. That's it. Almost no stars. I almost couldn't finish this book. It's hard to believe that James Swain is a "bestselling author."
Dark Magic had every cliche ever known to man when it comes to psychics. Ouija boards, deals with the devil, astral projection (does anyone really talk about that any seventies!), magic potions, seances...
The characters in the book were far from "compelling" (from Michael Connelly's review), in fact they were about as shallow as they come, especial
Jul 14, 2012 ChrisF rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't make it through this book. I usually make an effort to finish the book even if I can't stand it, but I could not do it with Dark Magic. The plot wasn't that original, the characters and dialogue were unrealistic. When you would be calm, they panicked, when you would panic, they were calm. Especially the girlfriend, her emotions and personality where all over the place. She couldn't bounce from angry to happy to angry to in love to angry fast enough. Swain's attempt to develop characte ...more
Elly Wendy
2* Reading: I have enjoyed some strong, gripping novels lately. Alas, although I am a sucker for the subject material, this doesn't appear that it will be another one. Immediately it occurs to me that the girlfriend wants a good throttling. She is a flimsy character at best. The whole thing seems lame. I'm in a patient mood today and I'll see how it goes. ...
Okay, I did finish it, and "it was ok." The writing is not inspirational nr strong, the dialogue is not believable, and a number of other t
Bonna Hardy
Ohhhhh this book annoyned me!

It was predictable and every character had such a freaking attitude.

Especially the women in Peter's life. "Oh Peter I love you soooo much but how dare you try to save thousands of lives instead of eat the bagels I toasted for you..Im going to leave...come back and leave again!"

The ONLY part that redeemed anypart of this book for me was when Peter referenced the junior mint incident from seinfeld. Yup.
Jul 07, 2012 Skip rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Swain's other two series are excellent, but his first foray into urban fantasy is not. Peter Warlock is a magician, who psychic friends are under attack from an assasin hired by a secret society. Peter finds out that hsi parents belonged to the same society before escaping to NY and then being tracked down and killed. While there was plenty of action, I thought it fell a little flat.
rating 3.5 Dark Magic, an urban fantasy by bestselling author James Swain delves into the world of secret psychic societies, witches, demons and Satan himself. While not without flaws, Swain’s tale was captivating as his protagonist and a team of psychics race to save New York City from a deadly attack. I easily consumed this enjoyable read in a few evenings.

Protagonist Peter Warlock is a talented and successful magician with a loving girlfriend but he has secrets. Peter is able to communicate w
Jun 10, 2012 Julie rated it it was ok
Meh. Done now, but I really skimmed the last part of the book. I expected more from Tor. Really. To wit:

(1) The writing was very thin and flat. Not sure how else to describe it. It was boring.

(2) If you were a psychic and saw a massive killing about to occur in 4 days would you (a) immediately alert the authorities even though you might risk your own freedom, (b) alert the authorities anonymously as you had been doing previously and hope they paid attention, or (c) go home to think about it, go
Amy L. Campbell
Feb 24, 2012 Amy L. Campbell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Peter was a little too "perfect" to be believable: rich, attractive, "humble", and capable of doing real magic. He was the very definition of a Larry Stu who was never exactly challenged or put into danger. His relationship with Liza is unsatisfactory and she waffles from being unreasonably melodramatic to overly fawning over how amazingly wonderful Peter is. Since we know what the Big Danger is from the beginning of the book thanks to Peter's psychic abilities, we never really get a natural bui ...more
Apr 04, 2012 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I am giving this three stars, but it really deserves two and a half. it's a fast paced thriller with a few likable characters, but you never get really "close" to any of them....also, anyone familiar with paganism will be off put with just how off base the subject is treated. Witches do NOT believe in the devil, who is a creation of Judaism. the name Lucifer was stolen from the ancient romans...he was the god of light and air and his likeness was besmirched after the Romans invaded Jerusalem. Bu ...more
Rae Borman
I thoroughly enjoyed the plot and this interpretation of the warlock character type, but was disappointed in the character depth of the females in the story. I understand that they aren't the main players, but it seemed like they only had two settings - angry/hurt or middle of the road normal. It ultimately made a lot of their conversations with main character Peter seem very flat to me and ultimately distracting.
Sep 19, 2013 Laurie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Kind of a good idea but SO badly written.
Janet Surrusco
Feb 08, 2017 Janet Surrusco rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michel Sizaire
Feb 17, 2017 Michel Sizaire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking forward to reading the next novel
I read a lot, and even so, it has been a very long time since I literally could not put a book down, but that was the case with this one. I read it in less than 24 hours, less the 8 I spent sleeping. I absolutely loved this book!! A thriller with a slightly paranormal aspect and the city of New York as a character.

Peter Warlock is a famous magician. His nightly shows in his own personal Manhattan theatre sells out consistently, and he delights and confused those audiences. What the appreciative
Peter Warlock is a well-known magician. His magic show regularly draws a large audience into his theatre, including his own fan club. What nobody knows is that Peter really has supernatural powers. Together with a group of six friends Peter holds weekly seances. During those meetings they communicate with the spirits and try to discover what the future holds in store. Peter's life in particular is getting chaotic when one day he sees something dreadful during one of the weekly seances: thousands ...more
May 19, 2012 Kate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: supernatural
Originally published at Epic (Chocolate) Fantasy. Review copy from Net Galley.

Bite-Sized Review
Dark Magic had a reasonably interesting premise, but in the execution it turned out to be just...boring.

King-Sized Review
Peter Warren is a famous stage magician by day, but by night he's a real psychic, the leader of a group of similarly talented people who try to protect the city of New York by looking into the future to see upcoming threats. However, when they see an attack that threatens millions of
Roxanne Kade
Nov 27, 2012 Roxanne Kade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book was kind of like being on a roller coaster ride. It had its ups and it had its downs. There were times when I got bored with the book and just had to stop reading, and then there were times when I couldn't tear my eyes away from my Kindle.

I can't say I connected with any of the characters on an emotional level, and a few of them were quite forgettable, but this didn't stop me from enjoying the story. Peter Warlock's world is filled with secrets, some he hasn't even discovered y
Mar 25, 2012 Kiki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for Suspense Magazine

I enjoyed the different twists in the paranormal aspects: some unique spells, a dark magic
order trying to kill those with special powers, and the use of spirit guides, etc. As a paranormal
author and reader, I’m always looking for a novel to shock me with something new. I like the author
to have a hold on the old mythologies, but to be able to add a few new elements to the mix as well.
Mr. Swain definitely achieved this for me.

The relationships weren’t very complic
Stephen Stewart
I have mixed feelings about this book. I want to like it more, but I feel like it had a lot working against it. I wasn't super keen on how the book started in media-res. I think that spending at least a little time fleshing out the characters present would have been helpful before launching into a really intense seance scene. For a book about magic, I didn't feel like the world was really fleshed out at all. Sanderson's magic is very rule driven and even Butcher's magic system is described. Swai ...more
Dec 12, 2011 Oscar rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I was very disappointed by this book. I have read every book James Swain has written, and perhaps because of this I set the bar too high. Or maybe I am just growing tired of his style - he does use the same sort of phrasing in all his books (i.e., he would be a great writer, only he uses this phrase too often). Probably though, it is the subject matter of the book that is its downfall.

The story revolves around a psychic magician in New York city. A real psychic, we are asked to believe. I have n
Mar 24, 2013 Julia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was such a disappointment. I was really excited when I saw it on the library bookshelf and read the inside cover, but I was not pleased.
Even on the first page I was doubting my choice, but I can't not finish a book, so I pushed through it.
First off, he claims that New York bagels are the best in the world, obviously he's never been to Montreal. And there's a lot of "New York is the best city ever" but then showing the unpretty things about it, and I thought it was a bit racist.
The wo
JoAnne Pulcino

By James Swain

Mr. Swain’s entertaining thrillers have been a favorite of mine. I was quite unprepared, but very pleased with this genre bending, supernatural bombshell that is his latest novel, DARK MAGIC. One surprise was that Mr. Swain is an avid magician and used his expertise and his astounding imagination to create compelling characters and an amazing plot.

Peter Warlock is a very successful magician who harbors a scary dark secret. He is a member of an underground group of psychi
Bookish Michelle
The story started out with a vision that something bad was about to happen and had the group scrambling to try to stop it. That's an interesting start in my opinion. The story progresses slowly after that and centers around Peter, a magician and a member of the underground psychic group. Nobody knew about this group of psychic, not even his girlfriend. There was an attempted attack at his own performance that had the police coming and there were some questionings. Then, several members of his ps ...more
Steven Cole
Apr 06, 2012 Steven Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, arc
Full disclosure: I received my copy as an ARC from the Goodreads First Reads program. Free books are always welcome. :)

More full disclosure: I sat on this book for two years before I finally read it. Sorry, Goodreads, the timeliness of this review is .... pretty awful.

This is the story of magical superhero Peter Warlock, as he uncovers and sort-of defeats the (view spoiler).

Generally speaking, this was a solid thriller-style magical st
What did I think of this book? Well that isn't an easy question to answer. I like James Swain's books. I like his Tony Valentine character. But this is a stand alone. Ok not a problem. The storyline was a good one. What really has me in a pickle is the way the book is written. If this book was written for the YA (young adult) set, I wouldn't have a problem with it. I would then understand that the reasoning for having to explain EVERYTHING more than once and not give the reader the benefit of au ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Barry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I didn't actually read the whole book, as I was so put off by the beginning chapters. I had read Midnight Rambler and enjoyed the writing, plotting, characters, etc. so decided to try another by the same author. It isn't a spoiler to tell that the opening chapter has the main character meeting with a group of "psychics" and not only reading minds, but predicting the future. I might have been brought on board with some lead-up to this non-credible situation. In order to suspend disbelief, I need ...more
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James Swain is the national best selling author of seventeen mystery novels, and has been published in twelve different languages. His books have been chosen as Mysteries of the Year by Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and have received three Barry Award nominations, a Florida Book Award for Fiction, and France’s prestigious Prix Calibre .38 for Best American Crime Fiction. Born in Huntingto ...more
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“The fact that you are possessed by a demon does not mean you must become evil. Being evil is a choice, just as being good is a choice. If you let the demon take over, it's because you choose to.” 9 likes
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