Counterfeit Magic is not a full length novel, but a limited release novella. The narrator in this installment is Paige, an independent and optimistic witch, who runs an PI agency with her sorcerer husband, Lucas. It’s great to have a Lucas and Paige story. We’ve seen the evolution of their nine year relationship since the very beginning, with Dime Store Magic. And I’ve always rooted for them.
Anyway, the story begins with a lovely young woman named Ava, coming into the agency, asking for help getting to the bottom of her brother’s death. She believes it could be tied to a supernatural fight club she brought him to. Ava had participated in the fight, hoping to win money to help him pay off his debts, but she lost her fight. When she found out her brother bet against her, she stormed out. She didn’t see him again until his body was found a month later.
Ava is really only interested in Lucas handling the case. Paige and Lucas both tackle it, but split up to do the job. Lucas plans to look into the people the brother owed money to, while Paige and Savannah check out the fight club. Savannah poses as a fighter and they get in the door with ease. It doesn’t take long for the women to discover that their have been a couple of unexplained deaths affiliated with fighters –and there is definitely something going on.
A distance is growing between Paige and Lucas. One that began with the deaths of his brothers in Personal Demon. He has become more and more involved in his family’s cabal. And throughout the course of the novella, Paige notices the distance more and more. The climax of the book comes when she tries to connect with Lucas on the phone, only to have Ava answer. She convinces Paige that Lucas is in bed with her. And it’s done so convincingly, that my heart broke a little. Then, Adam moves in to seduce Paige… which is wrong, wrong, wrong, as we know he is the obvious HEA for Savannah. Fortunately, we find out that this is all a ruse –a counterfeit magic– to convince Paige to stray from Lucas. It’s all been orchestrated by his only living brother Carlos, who hopes Lucas will leave the cabal to save his marriage. Carlos is behind the deaths at the fight club too; he set that up to help pay off a debt to another club that viewed it as competition. Using Ava’s real connection to the club was away to draw in Paige and Lucas, so he could kill two birds with one stone.
I really enjoyed this novella. I’m used to reading stories even much shorter than this one with this series, as Armstrong has created several internet offerings and two anthologies. I was prepared for the length and not disappointed by it. Like many others, I pre-ordered it, knowing that it was darn near impossible at the time to get your hands on Angelic, the last limited release novella. You don’t have to read this one to continue on with the series. And you don’t have to have read the previous books to understand what’s going on. But honestly, this was written for those of us who were already Otherworld fans. A bonus offering. One with a fast, interesting story –and a surprising emotional punch. 4 stars.
Counterfeit Magicby Kelley ArmstrongRelease Date: November 30, 2010Publisher: Subterranean Press