Eric Carter series by Stephen Blackmoore
Years ago, Eric Carter’s mother and father were killed by a rival wizard. After taking his revenge, he’s given a choice: leave town or get killed. So he decides to leave, but in doing so ends up severing ties with the only family he has left… his sister. 15 year later, he’s working as a freelance necromancer, talking to ghosts, putting restless spirits down, and sometimes hunting more dangerous things.
And then his sister dies and Carter finds himself back in Los Angeles, trying to figure out who killed his sister and why they wanted Carter to know.
What follows is high octane urban fantasy. Carter, armed with mystic tattoos, an evil gun, and an even more evil pocket watch, kicks down doors, shakes down bad guys, and works hard to get to the bottom of who killed his sister. Along the way, he deals with a genie, a witch, and a couple of long dead gods looking to make a comeback. You could strip away the magic aspects of the book and still have a great noir story to rival Hammett or Chandler. Carter is much more on the cynical aspect of the scale when it comes to anti-heroes, and doesn’t have the same Everyman feel that say, a Shadow from AMERICAN GODS has. That’s down to the fact that he was born into a world of magic, and isn’t discovering it piece meal. As a result, the first book can feel like it’s on a bit of a steep learning curve, especially if you aren’t already steeped in mythology. Seriously, first thing that happens in the first book is Carter meeting up with a bunch of voodoo loa to receive payment for a job he did for them.
That’s not to say the mystical aspect isn’t handled well. Like a lot of urban fantasy (DRESDEN FILES and AMERICAN GODS I’m looking at you), Blackmoore likes to use a rich mélange of different magical traditions, but the one that comes to the forefront is the Aztec mythology and pantheon. Carter ends up dealing with its gods, travelling through its version of purgatory, and battles its monsters. It was refreshing to read a bit of urban fantasy that borrowed so much from New World mythology, given the prevalence of Old World mythology in a lot of other urban fantasy.
So if you like things like AMERICAN GODS, or the lately canceled GRIMM, I highly recommend you pick up Eric Carter. Just don’t blame me if you wonder what dead things are watching you.
P.S. If you want a great twitter feed to follow, hit up @sblackmoore for his daily horoscopes. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.