California Bones

Set in a futuristic Los Angeles, capital of the Kingdom of Southern California where magic and the Hierarch rule, this urban fantasy from Greg Van Eekhout (Norse Code) combines sorcery, thievery, betrayal and cannibalism in a rapid-pace story of intrigue and deception.

"Our bodies are cauldrons," Sebastian says, "and we become the magic we consume." A powerful sorcerer, Sebastian urges his six-year-old son, Daniel, to drink a potent concoction of boiled kraken spine, setting Daniel on a path of osteomancy. Sebastian's brutal murder six years later sends Daniel into hiding, where he survives by his wits, reselling stolen bones and powders full of magic for his uncle. In his life of crime, Daniel forges deep bonds with other misfits of society.

Daniel and his team are called upon to break into the Hierarch's storehouse of magical objects, which is protected by supernatural spells and fiercely guarded by humans with special powers. They face golems, shape-shifters and humans trained as search dogs as they navigate the canals and underground terrain of a city where alchemy is in the air they breathe and the bones they consume. Fueled by the magical potions his father fed him, Daniel draws upon his sorcery to fight a classic and heroic battle against the Hierarch, the outcome of which changes everything.

Take the magic of Harry Potter's world and blend it with the X-Men and Ocean's Eleven, then add a dash of flesh-eating, power-hungry humans and you'll begin to understand the complex, delightfully creepy, crime-filled fantasy world Eekhout has cooked up. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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