Hook, Line, and Slinker

Title: Hook, Line, and Slinker (A Tales of Weird Florida Short Story)

Publisher: Weird Florida LLC

Author: Martin Shannon

Pages: 33pp

Price: 0.99 (ebook)

Eugene Law is the finest Magician in western Florida. Really. Seriously, he is. Which is why he finds himself driving through a hurricane, called out to help an old friend. Unfortunately, the problem is even bigger than Eugene had feared: umbralings have infested the hospice. While most of the patients have been evacuated, Eugene’s friend and one last critical patient are still in danger. Unless Eugene can drive the umbralings out of our world and back into the Gloom ….

Hook, Line, and Slinker came up on a list of free ebooks available through bookfunnel. Intrigued by the premise, I downloaded it and read it during my lunch break. I enjoyed it so much that I plan to purchase the first novel in the series, Dead Set.

I really like Eugene. He’s snarky and self-deprecating, but is well aware of his own power (and its limitations). He takes his responsibilities very seriously, even to the point of risking his own life to save a complete stranger (who turns out to be kind of a jerk). He’s loyal to his friends and acts immediately when they are in danger. He is also — shocking for an urban fantasy — happily married with a child. He even calls his car The Dad Wagon.

Shannon’s magical universe is also surprisingly original; it takes many familiar tropes and gives them a new twist. In the world of Weird Florida, there are layers to reality, stacked on top of and within one another; and some of these layers are downright inimical to human life. Such is the Gloom, the home of “Deep Magick and forever-hungry creatures that would like nothing more than to chew on your face.” There are also the Blue Holes near the Bahamas which act as portals to an alien dimension. Oh, and the Gloom Glasses, an unintentionally-created magical artifact that Eugene uses to help him see the creatures that have invaded our realm (so, yes, the badass hero is running around in granny glasses). And, oh yeah, there’s the succubus, too ….

Hook, Line, and Slinker is a fun, entertaining urban fantasy short story. It’s a quick read, just right for a break at work. As of this writing, there are a dozen short stories in the series, as well as five books; lots of options, depending on the amount of time and money you want to spend in Weird Florida.

Recommended to fans of the Dark Fae FBI series by C.N. Crawford and Alex Rivers; the Spells, Salt, and Steel series by Gail Z. Martin and Larry Martin; and The Arcane Casebook series by Dan Willis.