Blog Tour: Review: A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly

Welcome to my stop on the A Criminal Magic Blog Tour, written by Lee Kelly and this is a book about magic in a time of prohibition. You can follow the tour over at Xpresso Book Tours.

THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets THE PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new crossover fantasy novel.

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.


In A Criminal Magic, Lee Kelly has put a twist on America’s prohibition introducing magic as the thing under prohibition. Told from the point of view of two different characters the novel centres around how the mob use magic to make money and exploit people.

Joan is a young sorcerer who despite being powerful hasn’t yet learned much about her magic after a tragic accident when she first came into her magic saw her Mom die. She’s from a very poor family and just wants to do well by her cousin and sister who she feels responsible for.

Alex has joined the Prohibition Unit trying to make up for the mistakes of his Father who worked for one of the mob gangs and had convinced him to sorcer for him. When he’s asked to go undercover to penetrate another gang he knows this is his opportunity to make amends.

Joan and Alex are both on dangerous paths, both in deep and having to deal with far more than they are comfortable with. The magic in this book is spectacular and very beautiful, it’s visual and well described.

The mob aspects are real, scary and edge of your seat. As you see the characters weave through their stories and in and out of each others youhope for their outcomes to interweave so that they can both get a happy outcome but it consistently looks unlikely.

This was a beautiful book, it was wonderfully written and the ending was heartbreaking.  Lee Kelly is definitely an author to keep an eye on.

Many thanks to Lee Kelly and Saga Press for a copy of the novel in return for my honest opinion.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

lee-kelly-author-imageAbout Lee Kelly:
Lee Kelly has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced law in Los Angeles and New York.  She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey, though after a decade in Manhattan, she can’t help but still call herself a New Yorker.  She is the author of A Criminal Magic and City of Savages.  Visit her at www.NewWriteCity.com.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Head to Rafflecopter to enter to win a great prize pack…….A hard copy of A Criminal Magic, plus a few of Lee’s recent favorite magic reads: A Darker Shade of Magic, The Night Circus, The Witch Hunter, plus a pre-order of a magic book Lee is really excited about next year, Caraval (you can check out my review of this here).
(International Tour Wide Giveaway)

TitleA Criminal Magic
Series: N/A
Author: Lee Kelly
Genre: Fantasy | Magic | Crime
Publisher: Saga Press
Publication Date: 2 February 2016
Review Format: eBook
Other Formats: Paperback | Hardcover
Pages: 432
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US

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I'm BrizzleLass, I have Bipolar and have been dealing with mental illness in one form or another since childhood, I was first diagnosed with depression at nine. It's not easy speaking out about my experiences, some of them are extremely painful, but if I can help even one person then I have succeeded in sharing my story. This is where I talk about my mental health among other things that interest me. I enjoy walking, PlayStation, reading, heavy metal, and spending time with my Niece.

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