Review – Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher

Posted October 31, 2022 by Carole in Reviews / 9 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review – Dead Man’s Hand by James J. ButcherDead Man's Hand by James J. Butcher
Series: The Unorthodox Chronicles #1
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on October 11, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Fantasy / Urban
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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In the tradition of his renowned father, James J. Butcher’s debut novel is a brilliant urban fantasy about a young man who must throw out the magical rule book to solve the murder of his former mentor.

On the streets of Boston, the world is divided into the ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox. And in the Department of Unorthodox Affairs, the Auditors are the magical elite, government-sanctioned witches with spells at their command and all the power and prestige that comes with it. Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby is…not one of those witches.

After flunking out of the Auditor training program and being dismissed as “not Department material,” Grimsby tried to resign himself to life as a mediocre witch. But he can’t help hoping he’ll somehow, someway, get another chance to prove his skill. That opportunity comes with a price when his former mentor, aka the most dangerous witch alive, is murdered down the street from where he works, and Grimsby is the Auditors’ number one suspect.

Proving his innocence will require more than a little legwork, and after forming a strange alliance with the retired legend known as the Huntsman and a mysterious being from Elsewhere, Grimsby is abruptly thrown into a life of adventure, whether he wants it or not. Now all he has to do is find the real killer, avoid the Auditors on his trail, and most importantly, stay alive.

This was really good! It is no secret that I am a big fan of Jim Butcher’s books so I was really eager to see if I would feel the same about his son’s writing. I was quite pleased to find an incredibly entertaining novel with fantastic characters, a lot of action, some humor, and a whole bunch of magic. I am glad that I decided to give this book a try.

Grimsby is a witch but his magic wasn’t quite good enough to get a position with the Auditors so he spends his day doing tricks for kids at Might Magic Donald’s Kingdom. His job may sound bad but it is actually even worse than you can imagine. When a respected Auditor is killed holding a note that says kill Grimsby, his life is turned upside down. He ends up tagging along with Mayflower, also known as the Huntsman, who is trying to figure out who is responsible for his former partner’s death.

I came to love the bumbling hero, Grimsby, and his grumpy partner, Mayflower, before this book drew to a close. This book was rather exciting with enough action to keep the momentum going. There were plenty of times that I believed these two were in over their heads and always had fun watching them figure a way out of these situations. I thought that the magic in the story was very interesting and I have a feeling that we have only scratched the surface of Grimsby’s abilities. I loved that the book was packed full of twists, turns, and impossible situations. 

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book to fans of urban fantasy. This is the first book in The Unorthodox Chronicles and I am excited to see where the series will go from here. I was quite impressed by this debut author’s style of storytelling and cannot wait to read more of his work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group.

9 responses to “Review – Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher

  1. I’ve been wondering of this series was any good. I’m a big fan of Jim Butcher and his Harry Dresden series. it’s fun that his son is writing now, too.

  2. Great review you have here Carole! I have been seeing good things about his son’s writing, so I am glad that this one was a hit for you. It definitely sounds like a great UF read for sure!

  3. Verushka

    I remember when i first found Jim Butcher’s books and now his son is writing??? I feel old! But I am totally going to read this!!

  4. I’ve always passed up Jim Butcher’s books because the series always seems like its been going on forever so I’m super excited to see this is the first in a new series. Definitely adding to my TBR!