Book Review: “The Case Files of Justis Fearsson”, Book 1

A month or so ago, I was in the Downtown Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library, looking for something new to read. I wanted to stay in the Fantasy genre, plus stick with books in a series, but wanted a break from the Elves-Dwarves-Orcs-Goblins-type stories. I found a few books that looked interesting but the first books in the series were either checked out or not at that branch. I then saw the first book in the series below, “Spell Blind”.

The Case Files of Justice Fearsson is a series of Urban Fantasy books, written by David B. Coe. The series focuses on Justis Fearsson, a former Phoenix policeman and current Phoenix area Private Detective. Justis is also unique: he is a weremyst. Weremysts have the abilities of a wizard but are affected by the pull of the full moon: they change (like their “werewolf” cousins). Unlike their cousins, their change is magical and mental: their magical abilities greatly increase, at the cost of their sanity. Justis deals with this balance throughout the series.

Book One in the series is entitled “Spell Blind”. Justis Fearsson is back on a case that he was working while still with the Phoenix PD: the ‘Blind Angel’ killings. A serial killer terrorized Phoenix, burning the eyes out of his or her victims, and neither Justis nor his former partner, Kona Shaw, could solve the case while he was still with the PD. Now, the killings have started again. The main clue that Fearsson has: the suspect is using magic to burn out the victims’ eyes. Powerful magic – the strongest that Justis has ever encountered.

The book is written in 1st person, something I had to adjust to at the beginning. Justis Fearsson is portrayed as a hardened ex-cop but still loving the ability to help people when he can, and magic makes that job much easier. It is a fairly quick read and a light, but procedural, read, in the sense that it doesn’t feel like you are mentally wading in molasses each page. There’s a lot of detail involved with Justis’s investigation: interviews, note comparisons with Kona Shaw, and inner monologues (trying to sort out how all of the pieces fit together).

I liked how Kona was Justis’s “voice of reason”, considering how he would sometime rust headlong into situations that may not end well for him, her, or others. Local blogger Billie Castle was an interesting “distraction” (as Justis’s teacher Namid described her). I do wish that the notion of magic being known to the public was expanded on: some people dismissed magic almost as a host, some acknowledged it, other embraced it. For example: I wondered why the Phoenix Police’s views on magic (other than Kona Shaw) were never mentioned. Perhaps that comes in Book 3.

Overall, this was a pretty good start to the series. It was a fun read, especially trying to figure out who or what was killing these people. Justis and most of his colleagues/informants/friends have some very unique personalities. Justis and his evolving relationship with Namid, as well as his struggles with his changes during the full moon, were an interesting undercurrent. I wasn’t a huge fan of Justis and his propensity to ignore common sense when it involved Billie, but that more of a personal taste (or distaste). I also would like to have seen a little more on the weremyst community.  I’d rate it a 3 1/2 out of 5 stars (4, in ‘Goodreads’).


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