Untethered Magic: A Wizard in Bremen, Part One: The Realm of False Gods

This title will be published March 6, 2020

Otto Schneider is a licensed private detective in Bremen, Germany with an edge — he has magical abilities that help him solve cases — and has just located the body of a missing man whose family hired Otto to find. As with other recent cases, he notes the young man has a single suction wound to his neck, but as he prepares to call the police, he notices an ugly goblin-like creature prowling the street and a battle ensues. Just as the police arrive, the goblin sweeps its hand to summon a wall of shimmering air and steps backward, leaving Otto alone on the cold dark street to face the skeptical Bremen police.

The young man is the most recent victim in a spate of inexplicable murders, all killed by a single small suction wound to the neck. Detective Sergeant Schenk ridicules Otto’s veiled explanations and tries to rope him into admitting guilt, but another of Otto’s gifts is that he can tell the angry detective is lying about his confirmation of Otto’s guilt. He leaves the station a free, if suspected, man, but shortly afterward a senior officer, Detective Lieutenant Heike Dressler, knocks on his door to reveal she believes Otto — she witnessed magic as a child — and wants to bring him on board as a consultant.

What they discover defies imagination: the veil between the mortal and immortal world is weakening, and supernaturals are crossing back and forth to kill and kidnap humans, as well as generally wreak havoc. The creatures, known as shilt, are often accompanied by a well-dressed older human, Edward, who is the familiar of Daniel, a senior demon. As it turns out, Otto is all too well-acquainted with Daniel: he found him standing over the body of his comatose wife, Kerstin, nine months earlier.

When several humans, including Heike, a teenaged girl, and a junior police officer, Nieswand, are kidnapped by Daniel, he and a recent otherworldly acquaintance, Zachary, travel into the immortal realm to rescue the hostages, shocking those in power with his advanced abilities. However, he must make a deal with a demon – literally – to save his friend and the girl, one that will cost him dearly, but his conscience won’t permit him to act otherwise.

After dealing mockingly with the paranormal in the Blue Moon series, Steve Higgs formally advances into that well-trod territory in his first novel of the new Realm of False Gods series. Otto’s initial quest promises adventure, daring, and not-so-simple human decency and bravery, in a series not to be missed.

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