Treif Magic (The Book of Ze'ev 1) by John Baltisberger
Ze'ev leads a strange double life, as an exorcist and monster hunter for the Jewish Community of Texas. What starts as a seemingly standard exorcism reveals him to the schemes of a sordid necromancer who will stop at nothing to kill anyone who stands in his way.
Can Ze'ev beat the odds and put an end to the necromantic cult festering in the heart of Texas, or will he end up being the victim of Treif Magic?
Includes over 65 footnotes explaining Hebrew and Jewish terms and concepts.
Occult Folklore Meets Modern Day Monsters
Treif Magic is a great introduction to Jewish mysticism and folklore told in a modern action-packed setting. Along the way, Ze'ev Kaplan runs up against ghouls, necromancers, and other entities while balancing a girlfriend and normal life. If you're a fan of other occult detective stories, you definitely don't want to miss this one. The footnotes explaining Hebrew terms were very useful and helps feel like you are actually learning something while enjoying an exciting story. I usually like to pick up something else before reading a sequel but I had to dive into the second book immediately after this!
Occult Folklore Meets Modern Day Monsters
Treif Magic is a great introduction to Jewish mysticism and folklore told in a modern action packed setting. Ze'ev Kaplan runs up against ghouls, necromancers and other entities while balancing a girlfriend and normal life. If you're a fan of other occult detective stories, you definitely don't want to miss this one. The footnotes explaining Hebrew terms was very useful and helps feel like you are actually learning something while enjoying an exciting story. I usually like to pick up something else before reading a sequel but for this one I had to dive in to the second book immediately after!
Jewish Magic, Mysticism, Mystery, and Monsters!
John Baltisberger's Treif Magic is at once a captivating urban fantasy/horror tale and simultaneously an introduction to Jewish culture and mythology/spirituality for those who are viewing the story from outside of that society. I've always argued that the best fiction still manages to teach us something while we're immersed within it and the best lessons are framed in a narrative structure to better convey and reinforce the information to be learned. This book succeeds in proving that point quite well. As a story, Treif Magic introduces us to the world of Ze'ev Kaplan, a man who could have been a rabbi if life had turned out differently. Instead, encounters with inhuman forces of both evil and good have marked him and led him down a path that's molded him into something that's equal parts private detective, magician, and exorcist. In my opinion, it'll be a damn shame if Ze'ev doesn't become as iconic within the urban fantasy genre as Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden because there are definitely strong parallels between the two characters while Baltisberger manages to avoid a lot of the "Mary Sue" narrative cheats that Butcher employs in his Dresden Files, ultimately making Ze'ev the more human and relatable of the two characters. In that sense, the character is more in line with Anton Gorodetsky from Lukyanenko's Night Watch (and its sequels), Carl Kolchak from the classic television series, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, or Harry D'Amour from Clive Barker's literary universe (and the film adaptation of The Last Illusion, Lord of Illusions). Filled with supernatural creatures, powerful necromancers, magic, action, and mystery, there's so much to love about this book. Without offering up any spoilers, I suspect many readers will come away wanting more and with a burning question begging for an answer: Who is this "she" that the necromancer mentions near the end? Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. May as well pick up a copy for a friend or family member too, since it's always fun to have people you can discuss your books with.
A great action adventure, set in contemporary USA but all full of ancient Jewish mystic magic as an Exorcist battles baddies (both human and inhuman) with spells and talismen and violence. Lots of cool detective devices like dreamweaving and meditation. And he always gets beaten up ripping his body apart. Yet he goes on for a classic cultist showdown ending. Good shit.
Every time I read a Baltisberger book I am amazed at the level of content and information I read. I always walk away learning something new and extremely interesting. Wrap all of that around an Jewish exorcist in Texas and you have on hell of a read. Excellent, well written, the thought that John takes on each page is mind blowing.