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April 10, 2024

Catchpenny by Charlie Huston ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Sidney Catchpenny has depression and squandered his reputation as one of the best thieves in LA. Sid is a sly, with the uncanny ability to move through mirrors. He steals imbued and magical items, which are the currency of the criminal underground and the secret source of magic. A friend from Sid's past comes looking for help, and offers a chance to repay old debts. This is a much more complicated case than he thought it would be. As his depression lifts, Sid sees connections everywhere he looks, and everything starts coming together.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of paranormal mystery Catchpenny by Charlie Huston
April 2024; Vintage; 978-0593685082
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); paranormal mystery

As a sly and thief, anything imbued with strong emotions and purpose enough to create mojo, the magic of the underground trade, will catch Sid's eye. A missing teen's room is full of mojo for some reason, and he's got multiple debts to pay crippling depression, and a murderous reflection on the loose. It doesn't seem like a situation he can dig himself out of, but Sid has been in the game for a long time. As he moves through it, we learn not only about the girl he's looking for, but the world he lives in and the threats it faces with modern-day problems. The internet takes up so much more time and energy and doesn't generate mojo the way physical objects do.

The world of Catchpenny is a world within a world, where those in the know move alongside the average person, who will never realize something weird is happening. It reminds me a bit of Rabbits ( and similar books, where the other hidden world can still affect the regular one. And like those books, the influence of magic on the Real World can still change its trajectory and harm many. Sid thinks he understands the connections that tie him to Circe and what she's doing, his long-dead wife and the man with his face that killed her. The conclusion of the novel is where it all comes together: the truth, the magic, the plans that everyone had all along that Sid never truly understood. It drew me in, just like the magic of the large spell in the book, and then it all made perfect sense. Sid isn't going to make or break the world, exactly, but even the ones planning to do so need people like him to make their plans work.  The epilogue especially made me smile because it really did pull everything together. Sid spent the entire book saying it was all connected, and by the end it really was.

Buy Catchpenny at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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  1. Good review. I'm not sure the book would hold my interest, or that I wouldn't get lost in the other world, but you said it all pulls together in the end, so I'm willing to give it a try. I love finding new authors to follow, so thanks for the suggestion.