Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Traces Of Magic May Contain Traces Of Magic
by Tom Holt

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Alan Robson

Chris Popham is a travelling salesman. He deals in magical goods with unlikely product codes (a BB27K is a portable parking place. Drive to your destination, spread out the BB27K and park quite happily no matter how crowded the car park may be). He has a SatNav system in his car. Imprisoned in the SatNav is a demon who is serving a life sentence for some terrible crime. Chris has lots of chatty conversations with the SatNav (in between being told to turn left at the next junction). The SatNav gives him pointers in selling techniques, though even she cannot explain why so many people buy the dehydrated water (just add...) which is his fastest selling product. What on earth do people use it for?

Complications arise as Chris falls foul of a demon who seems to want to free the SatNav from her prison. People he meets are not always what they seem. At least one is a Norse God and most of the others are members of secret organisations dedicated to eradicating demons. Hilarity ensues.

Well almost.

If it is possible to be a little bit funny (like being a little bit pregnant), then Tom Holt has managed it here. There are some very clever and funny set piece scenes, but the overall effect feels somewhat strained and all too often the humour doesn't quite hit the target it is aiming for.

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