Dead Man’s Reach: The Thieftaker Series

Written by D.B. Jackson
Review by Fiona Alison

This fourth in series returns with Ethan Kaille, a career ‘thief-taker’ in the backstreets of 1770s Boston and a powerful conjurer. An ethical man, protective of his lover and his friends, and ever-conscious of his dangerous lifestyle, he is infinitely cautious about using magic, except to heal. But now an old foe has arisen, literally from the dead, and is using Ethan’s power as a magical conduit to wreak havoc in the city. Despite fruitless efforts to find the culprit, the conjurings continue, inciting fighting and riots in the streets and culminating in the shooting death of 11-year-old Christopher Seider. Tensions between British soldiers and the Patriots continue to rise. When Ethan locates his enemy, he teams up with a rival thief-taker on a hunt which results in an unearthly battle of epic proportions.

Peppered with real-life events and compelling characters, this is a well-crafted urban fantasy with a cleverly plausible, supernatural explanation for the lead-up to the Boston Massacre. The reader is pulled inexorably into Ethan’s dilemma. Although it is an excellent stand-alone, I am sorry I hadn’t come across the first three before. The best of historical fantasies are founded in real-life events, and this is a very fine example.