Friday, May 25, 2012

Sean McDevitt - The Wizard Murders

The Wizard Murders

By Sean McDevitt

Kindle Edition Available

Product Description (from Amazon)
The year is 1981. A small California town is rocked by a series of seemingly random -and increasingly violent- murders. An aging detective tries to capture the elusive killer- but with so few clues, can anyone stop the killing?

About the Author (from Amazon author page)
Sean McDevitt is a filmmaker, videographer, actor and -thanks to Amazon- published author.

His brand new full-length fictional crime novel, titled "THE WIZARD MURDERS", is now available for Amazon Kindle. It is a project that he has worked on -in one form or another- for nearly 30 years.

He is also the author of "The Velvet Sofa," which is based upon a never-before-published short story written by the author's late father, Dr. Steven J. McDevitt.
This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

O.Scarlett! Review by Tenya
*Special NOTE - Sean has revised this book recently, and I am looking forward to the re-read soon.
      A couple months ago I followed a Twitter link to a You Tube trailer for this book. The trailer is simple, but intriguing. My fifteen-year-old son watched over my shoulder and said that the trailer made him want to read the book (me too!). This is a big deal because that boy does NOT like to read ANYTHING. Now that I have it downloaded, he’s waffling… I guess he’s waiting for the movie.
       This is a short novel which I found easy to read in the midst of one of my mother’s far too infrequent visits and the presence of many extra family members in and out of my house. It took me about one week to read simply because I was very busy. Ordinarily, it would be an easy one or two sitting book. I did not have a problem keeping the plot and characters straight as I read in snatches here and there. That does not mean that the plot is overly simplistic; the plot is quite involved, truthfully.
       I did struggle a bit with the present-tense in which the author chose to write. After about half way through the book, however, I was captured enough by the story to not notice it any longer. It did feel as if I was reading a script or a police report, which could be considered a genius device by McDevitt that really places the reader almost literally within the pile of paperwork heaped upon the desk of the police detective who is the main character.

When a small, southern California town is sent into a tailspin over a young girl’s murder, aging detective Andy Pitt must try to follow the strange series of clues left by the killer before he claims his next victim. In the wake of the ensuing murders, Pitt, along with his partner Clarence and a bubble-gum-chewing secretary, scramble to discover the secret behind the only real evidence they have – the strange paintings of a wizard at each crime scene. Deciphering cryptic clues and reading star charts is not what Pitt has in mind for this stage of his life; he planned to be sitting in a cabin somewhere in Maine – finally retired from police work. But, when the police chief is diagnosed with cancer, the burden of keeping the little town secure falls squarely on Andy’s shoulders.

       Figuring out the clues along with the characters, and sometimes before the characters, is the real fun of reading this book. I enjoy investigative police drama on television, and this book was quite familiar in the way it presented the story in that manner. I do wish the book had a bit more depth to feel more like a suspenseful full-length feature film instead of a sixty minute TV show. I put the read down feeling like I needed more “episodes” to really get to know the characters better. If the author’s intention is to follow-up with more short novels in a series, The Wizard Murders is a great beginning.  I would really have liked to see more about the killer himself revealed slowly throughout the story.  I think it could have really tweaked the suspense factor of the book.
       Sean McDevitt certainly has great potential to write very intriguing and involved thrillers and mysteries. I look forward to watching him grow as an author. Although I felt that this book left open-ended options for more character depth and plot intrigue, I would definitely pick up the next write by McDevitt and gladly read it.
       I think my fifteen-year-old would actually enjoy this read more than I did. Now, if I can only get him to pick up the Kindle and put his eyeballs on it… In the meantime, maybe you should start working on the screenplay, Sean!

There is no sex in this book at all. The language is mostly mild except that ‘Jesus Christ’ is misused quite a few times. This is a police investigation of multiple murders, so be prepared for a bit of gore and the macabre. The last murder is the worst, but the author does not go into explicit detail about blood and guts. It’s simple text which explains the facts without the gore – like a TV crime drama in words.

Genre/Theme: Police drama, murder mystery, thriller
Reading Level: (by appropriateness) TEEN to ADULT – as long as one is not bothered by bloody murders as the subject matter
Profanity: MODERATE (just generally heard expletives once in a while, but Jesus’ name is misused several times)
Sexuality: Almost NONE – There are a couple references to Pitt thinking the secretary is kind of ‘cute’ and there’s very subtle flirtation in one scene. A mention of teenagers going to a place outside of town for partying and such is quite subtle. Anyone of a basic maturity could handle what is mentioned without embarrassment.
Other: As mentioned above, this book is a murder mystery about multiple murders that get progressively gorier. One scene describes, although not in too graphic detail, a man dying and a lot of blood on the scene. The final murder scene is pretty gross, so people who are very sensitive to that sort of thing might not like it. Expect bloodiness and such as it is the theme of the book.

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