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Unleashed by John Levitt
Review by Drew Bittner
Ace Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780441017980
Date: 24 November 2009 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Something is on a killing spree in San Francisco, seeking out and attacking magic's practitioners and their Ifrit familiars. Mason, a jazz guitarist who moonlights as a cop of the supernatural (of sorts), has a very personal interest in this something: odds are good he helped create it.

In Unleashed, John Levitt delivers another solid, thoroughly enjoyable urban fantasy featuring Mason and his Ifrit companion, Louie. Though he looks and acts like a dog--don't be fooledóLouie is a powerhouse of magic packed in a tiny body. And Mason is going to need his help, with a killer monster loose in the city.

Previously, Mason had been thinking about how Ifrits were created. An experiment to create one on purpose led to making an energy pool, out of which something emerged. Big, angry, strong and fast, the monster mauls Mason's colleague Victor while he and Mason track it down. This leads to Mason calling in his ex-girlfriend Campbell (a healer), which leads to an encounter with a homeless practitioner who helped Mason with the energy pool. It seems this fellow's friend vanished--and the energy pool has the same sort of mystic signature. Coincidence?

Not at all, not when Mason and Campbell run into two other practitioners, Ruby and Ramsay, who are on the trail of something big and dangerous. But the clues and timing don't add up, so is it possible something else came out of the energy pool?

Making things even more complicated is the revelation that a friend of Mason's, who died saving his life, may not be quite as dead as everyone thought. A mystical creature named the Wendigo appears to have something to do with these disappearances, but how? What does it want? And is it somehow related to Mason's failed experiment? Nothing is what it seems to be, but Mason and Louie know one thing: unless they find this monster and stop it, they and all their friends are on this thing's To-Do list.

Levitt's newest novel is a fast-paced, entertaining game of hide-and-seek played in San Francisco, where the stakes are a bit higher than being "it". Mason steps up his game in this novel, discovering there is much more to magic than he ever dreamed; after all, when a friend can return from the dead after a year, the world is clearly stranger than we know.

Mason and Louie are a great team, with terrific chemistry and an unbreakable bond. (Levitt clearly owns and loves dogs.) Their partnership continues to grow in this book, when Mason and Louie find themselves battling unexpected dangers, in this case, something that even Louie's refined senses can't detect. As has happened before, Mason has to improvise.

Readers who enjoy a thrilling tale with plenty of heart are sure to love this book.

Recommended.

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