On tour: A Criminal Magic

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The Paisley Piranhas are delighted to join the tour for Lee Kelly’s A Criminal Magic. Read on for more about the book, and Katy Haye’s review.

Criminal Magic Banner

About the book:

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 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.

The cover of Lee Kelly's A Criminal Magic

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Review by Katy Haye:

This book was pitched to me as The Night Circus meets Peaky Blinders. If I can borrow a cliche – YOU HAD ME AT PEAKY BLINDERS!

For me, that’s a pretty high benchmark to set, but Criminal Magic didn’t disappoint. I loved every single twist and turn, every apparition and conjured white dove.

Joan and Alex were excellent narrators – with complicated histories, weights on their shoulders and ambitions for the future. What I especially loved was that I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get. I wanted things to work out for the two of them, but none of the marketing for Criminal Magic mentioned a romance, so there were no guarantees. I’m not going to give the ending away, but it was entirely fitting and satisfactory, imo.

Criminal Magic was such a treat – a glorious world to step into full of magic, divided loyalties and double-dealing. This one comes highly recommended!


Win 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.

Click to enter.

 Want to find out more about Lee Kelly and A Criminal Magic? Follow the tour!


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1 Response to On tour: A Criminal Magic

  1. Great review! This sounds like a fun read and definitely not a boring moment! Glad you liked it! 🙂


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