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Hex-Rated (Brimstone Files #1)
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(Brimstone Files #1)

3.30  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A salacious throwback to the detective pulps of the 70s, Hex-Rated kicks off the new urban fantasy series the Brimstone Files.

Fall, 1970. Los Angeles has always been a den of danger and bliss, but even darker tidings brew in the City of Angels. Cults, magic, and the supernatural are leaking into the worlds of glamour and dives of the gutter. To the spectators walking down
Paperback, 292 pages
Published August 1st 2017 by Night Shade
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3.30  · 
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 ·  126 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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May 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pulp fiction joyride across seventies LA.

This is the stuff cult movies are made of. Hex-rated is a mash-up of Magic Castle, A Boy Named Sue, and Lair of the White Worm. Take a disenchanted, down-on-his-luck guy trying to do the right thing, James Brimstone--most of the time. Add some noir elements like a doll and that just ensures trouble.

There is a lot of scathing commentary about history and the revisionist lies we like to tell ourselves. Set in the 1970s, it's unvarnished from the plethora
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-borrowed
James Brimstone, Private Eye & Magician

Hex-Rated a a tribute to all the cheap tawdry pulpy goofy horror novels of the Seventies. When there's a deadly snake pouring out of an actress' mouth, who you gonna call? James Brimstone, Korean War Veteran, circus performer, conjurer, and private eye, dedicated to helping damsels in distress escape the clutches of supernatural beasts. Everything but the kitchen sink is thrown in from cheap no-tell motels to rather graphic Porno movie stars to demons t
I received this from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

I really wanted to like this book, but unfortunately, it didn't really capture my attention. I didn't connect with the characters, and it turned into another run-of-the-mill urban fantasy that failed to live up its potential.
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: urban-fantasy
James Brimstone doesn’t want to have anything to do with magic anymore. With the burial of his cruel mentor, all his remaining bridges to the world of hexes and demons have been burnt. He can start work as a private investigator and leave the supernatural behind him.

His first case, predictably enough, plunges him right back into it all. A actress with hideous facial scarring – scarring that tastes of magic – begs for his help. James Brimstone finds himself going up against Nazi occultists, monst
Lord Nikon
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
It’s weird. I liked the opening of the book, and found it MOSTLY okay for about 1/4 of it…but then the issues started glaring me in the face.

On the face of it the things I liked are the 1970’s setting, the pulpy feel, some of the story and plot ideas and the shortish chapters.

I’m not sure what to chalk these other things up to…but here are my issues with the book.

Protagonist James Brimstone is really unlikeable. He’s basically an asshole. In almost every interaction he’s a smug, arrogant dick.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. Urban fantasy set in the seedy side of 70's era, Los Angeles? Yes, please. But I couldn't connect with Brimstone at all. The overuse of metaphors lost my attention page after page. Why use one, when you can use three? Well, because the reader has forgotten what you're even talking about after a whole paragraph of metaphors. I just found my attention constantly wandering and in a lunch hour where I'd typically read 70 pages, I found myself reading the same 10 pa ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jul 14, 2017 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Shelby *trains flying monkeys* by: Vivian
Shelves: netgalley, dnf, read-2017
I'm putting this one aside until I'm maybe in a better mood to try it. I'm hating the main character too much right now.
Christopher Garcia
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If Jason Ridler had written this when I still considered making movies, I'd have optioned it. This is a phenomenal story, the kind fo novel that seems to exist in a magnificent world that could not be more designed for me personally than if I had commissioned it! I loved the prose, loved the characterizations, and I especially loved the pacing, which helped me to make it one of three books I've managed to complete since the birth of my twins!
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just fun to read. This book is a throwback to the sleazy paperbacks(and I mean that in the kindest way) of the seventies(not the fifties as are most of these "homages"). Fun, sexy, violent and mostly tongue in cheek--read it, man, now!
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Urban fantasy is an interesting animal... its a chameleon becoming what it wants. You want romance (with magic) there's urban fantasy for you, you want spy novel (with magic) there's urban fantasy for you, you want police procedural (with magic) there's urban fantasy for you. However, without a doubt, the most popular disguise that urban fantasy will take is of the private investigator style mystery... the Mike Hammers or Sam Spade's of the world, only with magic. The grandfather of this style o ...more
Stevie Robinson
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Bentrim
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw a lot of Jim Butcher in this book. Ridler’s style is different and he is more graphic and sets more adult scenes than Butcher. Glenn Cook also has a magical private eye and again quite different than Ridler’s style. That I see this work as a reflection of Cook and Butcher is not in any way disparaging Ridler or his work. I truly enjoy those authors’ work and enjoyed Ridlers.

The book looks like it will be a series and I look forward to reading more. Ridler portrays a protagonist that has h
My brother's book!! I had so much fun reading this.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
It's Los Angeles in the 70's and James Brimstone is a down and out ex-carney, burying the man who taught him magic (real magic) while endeavoring to launch his Private Eye practice. When a woman shows up outside his office, covered in scars of a supernatural bent, he signs on for a lot more than he had intended. Car chases, fight scenes, porno movies, Nazi magic, and our Korean war hero, Brimstone, just trying to hold his own between two worlds he doesn't fully understand. A raucous, sexy, silly ...more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book as it seemed to be right up my alley. However, being set in 1970 (assuming this since MASH was in the theater in one scene in the book) some details did not add up. Not going to list them here as another Amazon reviewer has already taken the time to write a whole list of these items but a tiny bit of editing and research could have prevented these inconsistencies.

The thing that I really couldn't get past here was the overuse of a slur that rhymes with maggot. If
Titas (I read in bed)
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: detective, fantasy
Hollywood Detective with Magic
Hex-Rated: A Brimstone Files Novel: 3 stars

James Brimstone is Jack of many trades: former child magician in circus, Korean veteran and now a licensed private investigator. His new life starts with his mentor’s funeral and his first client Nico, the scarred beautiful actress with a tale of black magic, demons and revenge on the set of a pornographic film. With knowledge of the hidden dark magics and no money in pocket, Brimstone takes the case that takes him to place
I really should have been warned by the title. I thought it was just a clever clue to the plot, where a PI with magical powers investigates a case on a porno film set. I even figured it was likely that the MC might get a little action himself. But wow, this guy is so irresistible to women that he is able to have sex with 4 -including 2 at one time- all in one day. And while he is describing the incredible experiences (yes, plural) that he is giving each one of these lucky ladies, he's also talki ...more
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A contender for Best Book of the Year!

"Brown bags littered the gutters like the corpses of squashed rats. The air fluttered with the launching of a dozen different burger wrappers that danced in and out of traffic like kamikaze birds."

The above are just random sentences from the book. You can pretty much open the book to any random page, and find other sentences just as superbly written.

I am not really sure why this book is classified as Fantasy. (because of the magic?) I found it to be more in
Hex-Rated by Jason Ridler is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late July.

In a world with witchy women, natural nightvision, and a flux of barely-introduced characters, a middle-aged, quirky, StarLord-like lead character named James Brimstone....does things.
H. P.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: modern-sf
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it
A great, totally fun and sleazy noir tale with a really cool take on magic. Fun and fast read, my only problem was the main character.

I COULDN'T LIKE HIM. Being an antihero is fine, being an asshole not so much.

still a fun read though, check it out
Melisende d'Outremer
"outlook not so good"

Narrated in the first person by one James Brimstone, an ex-child magician, now a PI in California, whose business "Odd Job Squad" it is to investigate that which falls outside of the norm - ie: crimes dealing with those involved in the world of sorcery and magic. He is, by all accounts, "like some dime novel hero" who, following the death of mentor Edgar Vance, is drawn back into the world he was trying to escape by the waif-like Nico.

As long as you don't take this too serio
Justin Howe
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
A bit George Chesbro, a bit James Crumley, all low rent smutty supernatural detective.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hex-Rated is an electrifying blend of pulp noir and horror.  Jack Brimstone, LA’s newest Private investigator is looking forward to leaving a life of magic behind and spending his days chasing cheating husbands and finding lost dogs.  Burying his mentor means freedom from all things strange and wondrous- at least until a beautiful woman shows up after an attack by a vicious demon. Naturally Jack wants to help, besides he’s flat broke and Bee’s locked him out.  A paying client is just what he nee ...more
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, mystery
Very sweaty and occasionally amusing PI novel with lots of triggers.
Matthew Lipson
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hard-case-crime
I have to get over the bad editing that seems to have become normal in today's book publishing business. When reading a book nowadays, I often find myself adding definite articles, changing an
"a" to an "an," making tenses agree. This is not the fault of the author. You might say, "Yes, it is." But, the editor is supposed to find these grammatical mistakes in a manuscript numbering in 100s of pages. They are the final eyes for content and grammatical correctness. Often this detracts from the boo
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
When I picked this up, I thought it would be in the vein of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files or Simon Green's Nightside series. And it is, vaguely. The main character is a PI who is a tough guy with a heart of gold who lives in a gritty reality. But that's where any similarities end. This book is much more like an edgy romance novel with its several really long, really detailed sex scenes except that the main character doesn't wind up in a relationship when the story is over. He's just this dude who ...more
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Pulp fiction in the classic sense. A story designed to entertain, titillate, and provide maximum value for your reading buck.

In the dedication (to his mum) when the author references watching The Rockford Files, Kolchak: The Night Stalker and The Twilight Zone as a kid I knew I was with a kindred spirit.

It starts with James Brimstone, clad in a baby-blue tuxedo, presiding over the funeral of his former mentor - the Amazing Edgar Vance. Recently removed from something akin to indentured servitu
Perhaps the 70s just wasn't for me?!

The concept of this book is intriguing, and should have kept me voraciously reading this book.

But it didn't.

James Brimstone is a strange fellow, I didn't love or hate him, but I also didn't connect with him, which ultimately pushed me out of the story.

man in baby blue suit

The thing that really irked me was the writing. I found the overly descriptive prose to be tedious and took far longer to read and understand than if the book had've been written in plain English.

An example (t
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me a while to finish this one because, as per the usual, I picked it up while I was reading something else, and kept picking things up as I went along.
James Brimstone grew up apprenticed to Edgar Vance, a carnie magician who was also a real-deal magus. After a stint fighting in the Korean War and an indeterminate time after, Brimstone washes up in Hollywood in the fall of 1970. He's trying to start a paranormal detective agency. After burying his late mentor, he lands a case investigatin
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