May Contain Traces of Magic, Tom Holt – reviewed

Review by Pauline Morgan

Humour is a very difficult thing to write as different people laugh at different things. Most people though, will find this novel a light, enjoyable romp.

Chris Popham is an amiable rep from a company that sells magical items. For the majority of the population, the idea of real magic, demons and other dimensions is not something that usually occurs to them outside of films and books, but for those that do, who could resist the opportunity to own an interdimensional folding parking space. His best selling line is DW6, which appears to be powdered water. Except Chris has no idea what people use it for.

Chris is a reasonably laid back rep. He meets his targets – usually. He has a long term girlfriend, Karen, who he hasn’t seen much of recently as she has been working late most evenings, and an old school friend, Jill, who he meets every week to complain about the world. Jill is an ambitious demon hunter by profession. His SatNav is an imprisoned being from another dimension serving a criminal sentence.

His easy ride through life is suddenly terminated when his boss lands him with a trainee. On the first day he enters one of the shops he visits regularly to find that a demon has been there first. Not only has it killed the manager but it is sitting on the top shelf watching him. The next day, when Angela has called in sick, he surprises a demon in the back of his car. Then a demon disguised as Angela kidnaps him, sticks him in a folding parking space and demands to know where she is. Chris has no idea what it is talking about. Matters continue to deteriorate until Chris is able to pick through all the evidence and work out what is going on.

Well up to Holt’s usual standard and a lot of fun.

About Stephen Theaker (306 Articles)
Stephen Theaker's reviews, interviews and articles have appeared in Interzone, Black Static, Prism and the BFS Journal. Among other work for the BFS, he has been awards administrator, short story competition administrator, Dark Horizons editor, FantasyCon secretary and treasurer, and (briefly) chair.