Dark Magic (Peter Warlock, #1)
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Dark Magic (Peter Warlock #1)

3.04 of 5 stars 3.04  ·  rating details  ·  338 ratings  ·  92 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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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...more
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
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 more...so 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...more
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...more
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
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.
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...more
Amy L. Campbell
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
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...more
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.
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
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.
Kind of a good idea but SO badly written.
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
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...more
Roxanne Kade
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
Despite some inconsistencies, James Swain's book, Dark Magic, has a pretty good plot; the problems come with the execution. Peter Warlock is one of a group of psychics who look into the future at their weekly seances and then warn the authorities (anonymously) of disasters that are going to happen in order that they may be prevented. The dialogue is stiff, drifting into cheesiness at times. Peter summarizes plot twists by saying “It was a trick” and the other characters accept this as full expla...more
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...more
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...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If you're a fan of magic, wizardry, and that sort of thing, this one will hook you in. It's not particularly well-written, but has enough suspense to make you want to know how it'll all work out.
Peter Warlock's parents were murdered when he was just a young boy, so he's been raised by his Aunt Milly. He now has a successful one man magic show in New York City where he does some respectable magic tricks while also using his psychic abilities to do some mind reading. Every Friday night, he gathers...more
Dr susan
Dark Magic is a fast read, partially because I found it difficult to connect with the characters. The premise is intriguing, but the story seemed shallow with too many 'perfect' solutions when problems arose. Although my library labelled Dark Magic as fantasy, I would call it horror. Since I am stuck home with a migraine, I will try book #2, Shadow People.
Loved the storyline: group of gifted individuals holding weekly seances to try and pinpoint any upcoming evil acts and then send anonymous information to the FBI. Was interesting and compelling throughout. If I had any complaints it would be the annoying self serving attitude of the main character's girlfriend. Very petulant and obnoxious. Example: It's near the end of the book and he is trying to find the person who is going to release a nerve agent on the city. He is on the phone with her yet...more
I listened to this book on audio. It held my interest enough for me to finish it. But that is about all I can say about it. The narrator did an okay job with what he had to work with, but he messed up on some of the character voices at times. I would say it's not a great story, but the audio edition makes it bearable.
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James Swain is the national best selling author of fourteen mystery novels, and has been published in the United States, France, Japan, Russia, Germany and Bulgaria. 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 Americ...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.” 8 likes
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