Considering that I haven't been able to read from beginning to end any book of Kelley Armstrong's after BITTEN, I was curiously interested in INDUSTRIAL MAGIC. Maybe Laurie's recent enthusiasm for the immediate prequel, DIME STORE MAGIC, infected me. And, what do you know, the book was terrific for a good long time before bogging down toward the end.
Paige and her supporting cast--boyfriend Lucas, foster daughter Savannah, friend Elena, pain-in-the-ass acquaintance Cassandra, etc.--have appeared in previous books, but I think you can enjoy this without having read the previous contemporary supernatural fantasies. Paige and Lucas are great characters and a nice couple, a realistically young one.
INDUSTRIAL MAGIC focuses on sorcerous cabals, kinda like mafia but kinda not. Lucas is the son of the leader of one of the cabals, but he has rebelled against his father by becoming a do-gooder lawyer. His dangerous and powerful father favors Lucas over all his children, though, and is constantly trying to lure him back into the cabal.
This leads to the plot of the story: Paige, a witch, and Lucas, a sorcerer, hop around country to figure out who is killing the children of various cabal members. Investigating the murders and stopping the killer inevitably forces Lucas to re-engage with his father. Paige's main relationship arc is with Cassandra, the magnificently self-centered vampire who is now facing her own mortality. Lots of other familiar characters texture the story.
As is normal for me, I enjoyed the relationship stuff more than the mystery. The thriller aspect of this story did intrigue me, though, right from the beginning. The pace of the story--the urge to find out what happens next--kept me turning the pages as fast as I could. The set-up part of the story was great--it was only once they started solving the murders that I felt the story got bogged down; I enjoyed the suspense more than the resolution of it.
Still, I went away thinking Armstrong has created an intriguing world even if she doesn't draw me in with every book set there.--Preeti (18 Dec 04)