America is not a popular setting for historical fiction these days— a shame, especially as our history is rife with drama and interesting characters. D.B. Jackson mines this potential in Thieftaker, featuring a Bostonian magician in 1765.
Ethan Kaille is haunted by his past and makes a living plying his supernatural powers to recover stolen goods for clients. He must work in the shadows, however, both because of a pervasive fear of witchcraft infiltrating the city as well as the antagonism of Boston’s preeminent thieftaker, the lethal Sophia Pryce. But when the daughter of a wealthy family is found dead, murdered by apparent sorcery gone awry, Ethan must put his reputation and life on the line to uncover the identity of a more sinister opponent, one who could be his undoing.
This is a noir-tinged tale with an unusual setting and premise; the idea that magicians roam colonial America and are both cautiously accepted yet shunned is fascinating. Jackson has a sure hand with ambiance and knows how to build suspense. While some elements feel familiar, there is enough of the unexpected to both startle and delight. Thieftaker is an engrossing entry in a unique new series.