Play Dead by John Levitt is the latest in his Dog Days series, set in San Francisco and centered around enforcer Mason and his personable Ifrit, Lou. Despite the fact that he looks like an Miniature Pinscher, Lou packs a lot of magic in his diminutive size and he definitely needs to stay on his toes to assist Mason in encouraging magic practitioners to adhere to the unwritten rule of keeping their existence a secret from the non-practitioner segment of society as well as avoid other nasty habits like human sacrifice. Mason likes to avoid major confrontations and tends to enjoy his musical gigs as a guitar player but he also has to pay his rent and fulfill his obligations to his boss Victor, self-appointed chief enforcer of their part of the world. A lucrative assignment for a black practitioner leads Mason to a case that makes him uncomfortable for more reasons than the rare cobra Ifrit that he crosses paths with. The more that he unravels the mysteries surrounding his quarry the greater the danger of the universe itself unravelling seems to become a very real possibility. Puzzling corpses and mysterious tomes add to the intrigue and life may never be the same again for Mason, Lou and their associates.
A fun lightweight read with nice glimpses of the Bay Area. Intriguing characters that could use a little more depth and a somewhat meandering storyline make it a bit difficult to establish a strong rapport with the central character but there is definitely a lot of potential to the series. Imaginative situations and developments are sprinkled throughout the book but it doesn’t quite have a cohesive feel. A nice surprise ending will make the reader anxiously await the next installment.
Mason used to be an enforcer, ensuring that those magic practitioners without a moral compass walked the straight and narrow. But now he just wants to keep his head down, play guitar, and maintain a low profile with Lou, his magical canine companion. But Mason is down on his luck, and when a job with a large payout comes along, he finds the offer hard to resist-not knowing it might mean sacrificing what both man and his best friend hold most dear.