Title: Ghost Bar: A Hardboiled Magic Adventure
Publisher: Indignant Media
Author: TW Allen
The Bloody Crown had a long career. Founded in the late 1800s, the bar remained in business for well over a century. It even survived an attack by The Crusaders of Temperance during Prohibition. But times have changed. The Bloody Crown is torn down, a messy hole in the ground left in its place. And then the first body shows up, dead of alcohol poisoning. Then the second. Desperate to solve the mysterious deaths and clear his name, the property owner and one-time bartender hires Mr. Lewis to figure out what’s going on. Lewis is an expert in … shall we say … unusual physics problems. But even he is unprepared for what they find when the ghostly Bloody Crown opens its doors ….
I stumbled across Ghost Bar in a recent Bookfunnel promotion, and decided to give it a try. I am glad that I did. Allen’s story, while short, is a terrific introduction to his Hardboiled Magic series. Lewis is an interesting character: he’s a true skeptic, unwilling to accept anything at face value, but open to seemingly impossible solutions. He takes his time and considers all of the evidence, but he’ll improvise on the spot if it means saving lives.
In the case of Ghost Bar, none of the other characters are given proper names. They’re just the Barkeep and the Maid of Honor and so on. Nor are they given physical descriptions. As a result, Lewis is centered in the story. This is his adventure, his mystery to solve.
Ghost Bar is a fun, fast story with an intriguing protagonist and an engaging, twisty mystery. I look forward to checking out the rest of the books in Allen’s series.
Recommended to fans of The Arcane Casebook series by Dan Willis, Wicked Games by MJ Scott, The Malykant Mysteries by Charlotte E. English, and The Gunderson Case Files by Blaze Ward.
[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]