Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars
Narrator: Michael David Axtell
Length: 9 hours, 19 minutes
Adam Lee Binder has the Sight, an ability to see into the world beyond ours into another magical realm. Adam doesn’t have strong magic, but it is enough that it has left him distanced from his family. Adam would often find himself disconnected from the world, lost in the magic, leaving him struggling in school and having trouble interacting with others. When Adam was a teenager, his brother, Bobby, had him sent to a “school” that was really a psych ward, which traumatized Adam even further. Bobby claimed it was to help Adam, but Adam knows it was really because Bobby didn’t want to deal with him and his strange abilities anymore, and his mother signed off to let it happen. As soon as he turned 18, Adam left the facility and he hasn’t spoken to his Bobby or his mother ever since. Now, Adam lives with his Aunt Sue in her small trailer in Guthrie, Oklahoma, tries to use his magic to help people, and is attempting to track down his long-missing father, who he is pretty sure is a warlock doing dark magic.
Bobby couldn’t wait to get out of Oklahoma and make a new life for himself. He now lives in Denver with his lovely wife, Annie, and works as a doctor. But things aren’t all easy, as Annie had miscarriages that left them both incredibly raw and Annie unlike herself. However, lately things with Annie have become even worse and, to his horror, Bobby realizes that she is possessed by some sort of spirit that is draining her life. The only person Bobby can think to call is Adam, who wants nothing to do with his brother, but agrees to help his sister-in-law.
When Adam gets to Colorado, it is quickly clear just how bad things are with Annie. He is determined to find out just what has a hold of her and how to stop it, but this spirit is huge and malevolent and worse than anything Adam has ever encountered. He realizes he is going to need some help and reaches out to the elves, but getting tangled up with them is not without its own risks. Along the way, Adam also meets cop Vicente Martinez, and the two men forge a connection that brings Vic into Adam’s world in unexpected ways. But this spirit is dangerous, and even with help, the situation is dire. If there is any chance to save Annie, it is going to take all Adam has, plus the help of some unlikely allies, if he is going to stop the spirit and make it out with all their lives.
White Trash Warlock is the first book in David R. Slayton’s Adam Binder series, and it was such a wonderful adventure! I had heard great things about this book, so when I was offered the chance to review the audio, I eagerly jumped at the opportunity and I was not disappointed. This is a fascinating urban fantasy with some great world building. Slayton has created a really rich, complex, and engaging world that is so well developed and integrated into the story. The book is exciting and suspenseful and there are all kinds of highly intense moments, particularly at the end when things come to a blazing climax. I enjoyed watching Adam balance on that edge, needing help from the supernatural world, but also never quite knowing who to trust or what their motives may be. It makes for some interesting complexity, but I also found the overall world building easy to follow and a nice set up for the series.
At the same time as we are dealing with this big picture world, the story zeros in on Adam and the personal side of all of this. Adam has deep resentment toward Bobby and his mother and has broken off all relations with him. At the same time, he doesn’t hesitate to come out there to help Annie, an innocent in all of this. I loved how the book really doles out Adam and Bobby’s stories a little at a time, so we slowly come to learn more about their past and what their lives were like growing up. What’s particularly interesting here is that most chapters are in Adam’s POV, but we also get quite a few from Bobby’s as well. It allows us to see Bobby’s side of what went on in their past, the way he too suffered as a child unbeknownst to Adam, and just how much he loves Adam. As readers, we become privy to things that Adam himself doesn’t know and it adds a really interesting perspective to this family dynamic and to the backstories for both men.
The relationship here isn’t the primary focus, but we do see things just starting to build with Adam and Vic. How they come together is a really fascinating plot thread and so I don’t want to spoil it by saying too much, but the men end up connected together in an unexpected way. Vic is basically too good for this world, with a loving and caring family and the world’s biggest heart. It offers an interesting contrast to Adam’s own family, and seeing Vic with his brother and mother is both wonderful and a little wistful for Adam. There is such a sweetness to the way Adam and Vic interact, particularly as Vic accepts Adam and all he can do unconditionally, which is so different than how Adam’s is own family has treated him. Vic is that source of love and comfort Adam has so sorely needed and I just really enjoyed them together. The story ends with an HFN for the guys and I am looking forward to seeing how things develop for them.
The larger story plot of Annie’s possession and the deadly spirit does get resolved here, giving closure to this part of the journey, but there are some bigger picture series threads that are carrying over to the next book, Trailer Park Trickster (which is already out). We get some surprising revelations here, as well as a series cliffhanger that sets things up well for book two.
I listened to this story in audio with narrator Michael David Axtell. It was my first time listening to Axtell and I thought he did a really nice job with this book. The pacing is good, and the tone is just right to capture the excitement and intensity, as well as the quieter moments. Axtell doesn’t use great variation in his voices, and most of the character accents come through pretty mild, if at all. In particular, Vic is supposed to have a Mexican accent, but it is barely noticeable. That said, this story was quite easy to listen to in audio and I sunk right into this book with no problems at all. So if you enjoy the audio experience, I can definitely recommend this format.
So I just loved this one and found it totally lived up to all I had heard. I have the second book ready to go in audio and I am looking forward to continuing with Adam and Vic’s journey.