A Flash of Hex is a riveting book featuring a CORE OSI (occult special investigator) Tess Corday in an alternate world set in Vancouver where demons, witches, vampires and nameless evil things reside and wreak havoc and the CORE is there monitoring, controlling and taking care of the situations to keep unsuspecting humans safe.
Jes Battis has created a complex and complete world within his novels, so complete that the details of creature DNA, vampire blood, genetics, supernatural crime scenes, and paranormal forensics are amazing. Sometimes the detail was so descriptive I felt my brain staring to sizzle, as in, OK too much detail, I don’t need to know all that.
A Flash of Hexstarts out a year after the first book in the series, Night Child, ends. I really wish I had read the first book because from time to time I was a little confused about the background and situation. Things were alluded to but not fully explained and I really got that, uh oh I should have read the first book feeling. But it was a minor inconvenience and eventually I had some things filled in and cleared up but really I would recommend reading Night Child before embarking on A Flash of Hex just so you are really clear on the world and the characters.
A Flash of Hex focuses on the ritualistic murders of several teenagers with mage potential and the illegal drug sold to supernatural creatures, Hextacy.
Throughout the book clues are left, people are killed and Tess just seems to be getting in over her head…as she is prone to do. A long the way she learns a lot about herself and her family, maybe more than she wanted to know. She also realizes she knows this thing that is doing the killings, somehow she is connected but she’s going to have to go to extreme measures to find that connection, measures that could kill her…or at the very least get her fired.
This book has a totally different feel than any other book in the genre of paranormal/urban fantasy. This is more sci-fi/fantasy due to the technical aspects of it and the complex alternate world building. Plus it is very heavy on the police procedure and the forensics, a very paranormal CSI kind of book. Which as a fan of the paranormal and CSI this was a cool blend.
Another that threw me off was the character voice. I am used to female writers writing through a female main character perspective. I knew nothing about this author before reading the book. Jes is a very androgynous name could have been short for Jessica or Jessie or who knows. But it was soon very clear to me that a guy was writing the book, a gay guy (the scene where Tess is imagining a teenage boy masturbating was a huge clue).
Now don’t get me wrong I am not homophobic or anything, I was just surprised because I wasn’t expecting it. There’s a lot of gay friendly stuff in this book, Tess’s best friend, co-parent and roommate Derrick is gay and a lot of the characters featured in the book are gay, trans, or bi. But it is minor enough that the book can still fly undercover as a mainstream book and not a LGBT book. Though it is, like I said, very LGBT friendly so if you do have issues with that kind of stuff (lots of straight men I am looking at you right now) don’t bother reading this book. For instance, this is not a book I’ll be sharing with my husband.
All in all A Flash of Hex is a fabulously detailed book within a complex world that I can’t wait to read more about. The characters are all complex, believable, and utterly fascinating and I want to know more about their lives. I read that Battis is contracted for at least two more books in the series. Awesome. Until the next book comes out I have to grab a copy of Night Child and catch up.
A FLASH OF HEX
In our line of work, there were demons and necromancers, and then there were…other things. Older things without names that you didn’t ever want to meet. I swallowed a lump in my throat, knowing I was in the presence of evil…
As an Occult Special Investigator, Tess Corday has seen her fair share of disturbing crime scenes--but nothing ever shocked her as much as the ritualistic murder of a drugged-out runaway kid, who she soon learns was not the first such victim.
All the dead teens had traces of the dangerous magical drug called Hex in their bodies. All were the children of powerful mage families. All were killed with the sacred tools of mages. It adds up to the chilling possibility that the OSI is dealing with a serial killer, one who has incredible inhuman powers.
To stop the slaughter, Tess and her partner Derrick will go anywhere and do anything—including seeking help from the necromancer Lucian Agrado, whom Tess is under orders to avoid . But as the deaths continue, Tess becomes convinced that the identity of the killer is locked inside her own head. And the question is—how many rules is she willing to break to get to the truth?