Last year, I took part in the Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award where I read a lot of wonderful writing from various indie authors. My favourite across the board was Accused by M. N. Jolley* so when the opportunity came up to be on the blog tour, I’m there! This book needs to be on the shelves of many many more people. It’s hard to write reviews of books that you adore but here I go…
My name is Levi. I’m a journalist, I’m autistic, I’m bad at magic, and I swear I didn’t kill her.
Research for the paper usually falls into a few basic patterns. Someone in the city says there’s a troll under Buck O’Neil Bridge, or they’ll call just so a friendly ear will listen to them complain about a pixie infestation.
That sort of content carries me through slow news weeks. It’s rare that I uncover a murder.
Being framed for murder, though? That’s a first.
With the Wizard’s Council hunting me for a crime I didn’t commit, I’ve got no choice but to solve the murder and clear my name. If I don’t unravel this case, nobody will, and I’ll go down for it so hard I might never see the light of day again.
I haven’t connected with an Urban Fantasy book in a while. I was feeling a little tired of books where the main character is a supernatural badass, or has been holding a stake since they could grip things. Give me a regular guy like Levi, who gets embroiled in things that are way above his pay grade but still wants to do the right thing even if it means things are going to get difficult for him. Much more difficult!
Every character was my favourite character at some point. From Ben, Levi’s date who has no idea about the magic world and learns about it along with the reader, to Maggie, the fae auto-mechanic/ magic item dealer who has her own serialised story. The side-characters are fully fleshed out and I’d read more about all of them! I also really love seeing Autistic and queer rep in any book, but especially in this genre where it’s been lacking.
The writing is a dream. Jolley uses Levi in an interrogation to tell the story of his extraordinary couple of days and there are a couple times where the story might not always be quite what it seems. It never felt too complicated to follow, and gave me a couple moments of ‘oh dang!’ while reading. The plotting is a masterpiece and when I was forced to put the book down, it was easy to pick back up and dive in.
Okay, I’ve finished raving. Please check out M.N. Jolley’s website and read the book, there’s even an audiobook read by Nikola Hamilton who sounds delightfully like Jon Hamm to me. I can finally go and read the sequel that I’ve been holding off until I finished this review and I’m so excited.
*I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.