Mob Rules

, by Kt Clapsadl

Mob Rules by Cameron Haley
Underworld Cycle #1

As LA plunges into an occult gang war, mob sorceress Domino Riley must unravel a conspiracy that reaches beyond the magic-soaked mean streets into a world of myth and legend.

Domino investigates the ritual execution of a mob associate, a graffiti magician named Jamal. The kid isn’t just dead, he’s been squeezed — the killer stole his magical power or “juice.” Domino summons Jamal’s shade, and the ghost points to Adan Rashan as his killer. This is tricky, because Adan is the favored son of Domino’s boss, Shanar Rashan, a six-thousand-year-old Sumerian wizard. It’s even trickier because only a mobbed-up sorcerer could have squeezed Jamal and Adan isn’t a sorcerer.

As the corpses pile up, Domino must confront the killer and unmask an otherworldly kingpin with designs on her gang’s magic-rich turf.

MOB RULES is an urban fantasy novel of murder and magic, betrayal and redemption set in the supernatural underworld of Los Angeles.

Meet Domino Riley, second in command to her Mob boss Rashan. The buck stops with her, and typically most problems are a relatively simple fix for her using bribes, intimidation, or just plain "removal" of the person causing the problem. However, when bodies start showing up skinned and no traceable magical residue is left, she knows this one won't be so easy to crack. Things get really complicated when one of the deceased's ghost points her in the direction of her boss's son, the man she has a strong attraction to despite the huge amount of trouble that could get her in. The more she tries to fix things, the deeper in she gets, and this time she might just not be able to dig herself out.

Let me start off by saying I LOVE Domino's character. She has plenty of kick ass attitude and the magical strength to back it up. There just is something captivating about a "bad" guy with a conscience, and this fits Domino perfectly. While she will kill without hesitation when necessary, an ability any good mobster must have, she never harms innocents. She constantly worries about becoming a monster and secretly wonders if she already might be one. This and many other traits make her the "good" bad guy that anyone would want to have in their corner, but really wouldn't want to cross. I can really see why her boss picked her to pull off the streets to train to become his lieutenant, and I think she has only begun to realize her full potential.

The world and the characters in this book are full of depth. I found it amusing that Domino's familiar, a Jinn, is trapped in an old TV box set. He sure isn't happy about this idea and seems to do anything he can to make her life more difficult if he can. An interesting part about the world is that the magic or "juice" as they call it doesn't have immediate side effects or costs, but the rush is extremely addicting and can lead towards a slippery slope of insanity. I find this a unique way to make magic come at price without being an immediate hindrance. Besides Domino's character, I really liked Honey's character the best. She seems to be the perfect balance to Domino, and I think the two of them will make a good team in upcoming battles.

This book threw me for a loop several times. It was anything but predictable as every time I thought I could take a stab at where things were going to go, something completely unexpected would happen and those predictions would go right out the window. It was really nice to read something completely out of the box compared to a lot of urban fantasies out right now. This is a must read from a fantastic debut author. If you love the "darker" side of urban fantasy with a heroine that isn't necessarily a "good" guy, then this book will be sure to impress. It definitely was a very quick and compelling read, and I eagerly await the next installment.

(Received from the publisher for review)
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Mob Rules (Luna Books)
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