Sam Adams, sixteen-year-old wizard, has zero interest in saving the world—but staying out of the line of fire isn’t an option for wizards.
When a new designer drug hits the streets, giving ordinary humans magical powers and leaving a trail of bodies in its wake, it threatens to turn his city of Williamsport’s long-simmering conflict between the haves and the have-nots into a full-scale war.
The only one with the skills to protect the city, Sam finds himself thrust into a conspiracy far darker and more dangerous than he ever imagined, with tentacles stretching into the criminal underworld and the wealthy elite—and into the spirit world. Fighting for his life, surrounded by enemies, Sam has to dig deeper than ever before to keep Williamsport from going up in flames.
"Wandering around the South Side after dark is never a good decision; it's nearly as dangerous as doing the same thing on the North Side.
Particularly when you're on your way to banish a poltergeist.
My name is Sam Adams, and I'm a wizard"
Credible Threats is the initial book of a new urban fantasy series, Sam Adams, and the debut of Daniel Meyer as an author. While at first glance might look similar to the Harry Dresden series, there are several differences that make this book pretty unique, and particularly, I would say that the most remarkable thing about this book is its main character, Sam.
(I also want to stop one moment to say that I was doubting if I should classify this book as young adult or adult, but taking into account the themes treated, I feel adult suits better).
Sam Adams is one of the best characters I've read recently. A teenage wizard, who sometimes does occasional magical works in order to help (as we will see him dealing with a poltergeist soon into the book); keeping this part of his life separated from his family, as he just wants to keep them safe. At the same time, he's dealing with pain and grief, as one of her closest friends died as a result of an overdose.
We are able to see soon that Sam's powers are not especially outstanding, and using these powers tends to make him feel exhausted; as we can see, despite not being a hard magic system, there's still a certain logic and cost, something that I appreciate.
"I chose not to mention that a ghost strong enough to do all this was probably a real bastard when it was alive, and death had just magnified that a hundred-fold. Nice people don't become ghosts."
The supernatural world is a common element in Sam's city, Williamsport, being all of it covered by the authorities, so most of the people are unaware of its existence.
Outside of classical creatures, such as can be ghosts and vampires, there are several original creatures of this author, taking a relevant paper the Shal'Gasa, one of the countless races that live in the spiritual world, but that sometimes intervene in human business.
Convivence in a city such as Williamsport is not exactly easy, showing a big gap between the North side and the South side; between classes in general, as we can guess segregation by richness, being the South Side where poverty and criminal activities tend to be. But this segregation is at a point that a minimal spark might blow all into a street war.
And with this situation, a new drug is introduced in Williamsport, the Hex. Behind it, there's a mysterious group, led by Doctor Death, an enigmatic character that seems to be looking for the destruction of the city with its actions.
"If I could do a little of both, hit it while it was weakened...
"BEGONE," I screamed, "SHOO! I BANISH YOU! I BANISH YOU FROM THIS HOUSE!""
And here is where our Sam will enter. If dealing with protecting his own sister and the people he appreciates is not enough, now he will be forced to work with different forces to uncover and stop Doctor Death.
The rest of the cast is also interesting, as there is a deepness in those characters that is kinda uncommon in the urban fantasy genre. We are able to see how they deal with different difficult situations, and how that is influencing their actions. A special mention should be given to Catrick Swayze, because seriously, you don't want to miss it.
Pacing is on the absolute spot, combining faster sections, where the tension grows up with small points that break it with the use of different resources, as can be funny moments. We also get some sections that allow us to know more about Sam or the internal process he's experiencing with his friend's death (especially, as we can see, she died by overdose; seeing how Hex might unchain a hell in Williamsport is not an easy experience for Sam).
Another detail I would like to talk about before finishing my review is how the fight scenes are super well written, with the perfect amount of tension (remember the stakes), and in a way that you can visualize them.
In summary, I had a blast reading this book. It is really polished, and honestly, I can see a big potential in the voice of Daniel Meyer, either writing urban fantasy or trying other genres. I want to recommend it to those that love urban fantasy as a genre, as we could call Credible Threats an excellent example of what the genre can offer.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a reader, and for almost as long, I’ve had ideas for stories of my own. I wrote my first story at the age of six, about pirates who had their treasure stolen. I never finished it, but I would keep writing stories throughout my childhood (never finishing most of those, either.) I fell away from the habit in my early teens, but all through high school, college (where writing papers helped me find my own unique voice), and my befuddled attempts at job hunting, the ideas never stopped, coming from all kinds of sources, for books, movies, TV shows, comics. On some level, I felt I should be a writer, and yet, I never seriously considered that I would actually become one.
Eventually, the ideas were coming faster and faster, and when I was twenty-five, I couldn’t resist the temptation anymore, and decided to take the plunge and actually bring those stories to life. At first I just concentrated on getting my many ideas down on paper, then spent months waffling over which one of them I should write first, until finally landing on Sam Adams.
And that brings us, more or less, to the present day. One of my main goals as a writer is to write the kinds of stories I want to read, and hopefully they’re the kinds of stories others would want to read as well. Like I said, I have more than a few ideas waiting in the wings, and I intend to bash out all of them sooner or later. I can’t wait for all of you to read them.