Jamie Schultz – Premonitions

jamieschultz-premonitionsTWO MILLION DOLLARS…

It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.

The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.

Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.

Karyn’s crew, and even Sobell himself, are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.

I love me a good heist story and Premonitions offers just that with the added bonus of a supernatural twist. Jamie Schultz takes us to an alternate LA where monsters are real, and they’re as often human as not, and deals with a devil are more common than you’d expect. Premonitions was a ridiculous amount of fun due to its twisty story with double and even triple dealing, a crew of miscreants that have great chemistry together and some genuinely bad guys gone worse. 

What kind of supernatural elements has Schultz dropped into his version of LA? Thus far I’ve encountered no vampires, werewolves and other more traditional urban fantasy creatures. Instead Schultz’s supernatural is based in various forms of magic practice, among which are dealing with demons, blood magic, and enchanted objects. The other major supernatural power on display is precognition, which in this universe is more of a curse than a gift. I liked how Schultz envisioned this power and the way that it debilitated Karyn’s ability to function normally and made her dependent on medicine to cope. It felt like an interesting parallel to having a medical condition that can be managed through drugs, such as epilepsy or diabetes, or perhaps more closely to something like schizophrenia. It’s interesting that during my reading of the book this never consciously occurred to me, it’s only now that I’m writing my review and thinking about it that this parallel jumped out at me.

At the heart of the story is Karyn’s crew, which is more like her family and consists of the entry specialist Anna, the ammunitions expert Nail, and the self-taught magic user Tommy. They each have their role in their jobs, but also in their group, with Karyn being the nominal leader, Anna as her enforcer, Nail as the loyal, brute-force silent guy, and Tommy seemingly the somewhat goofy younger brother. I liked the dynamics of the crew and how they gelled together. When Schultz brings in a fifth crew member in the form of Genevieve her arrival palpably affects the way the group functions and they all need to settle back in, which was interesting to observe. Genevieve’s presence especially strains the close bond between Karyn and Anna, who are the core of the crew, since Anna feels pulled between taking care of Karyn and exploring whatever is developing between her and Genevieve.

Premonitions has a busy plot between the crew getting drafted by Sobell, an arcane crime lord, their becoming enemy number one for the Brotherhood, a sinister cult whose greatest relic they steal, and Karyn’s precognition spiralling out of control. While at times it felt a bit too frantic, Schultz manages to juggle all of the many elements he introduces and while he has many named characters, he manages to keep them all distinct, never once leaving me to wonder where this or that character popped up from suddenly.

The one big downside to Premonitions? It’s hard to imagine a way back from where the story ends. The crew is in a deep hole, the bottom of which is a sucking quagmire  and it’ll take a lot of hard work, canny operating, and dumb luck to create a way out. Yet I’ve no doubt they’ll pull it off eventually and Schultz will make their quest entertaining as all get out. So I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book Splintered come July. If heist stories are your thing and you enjoy urban fantasy then Premonitions is definitely a book you should read.

This book was provided for review by the author.

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