Spells Salt and Steel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

These novellas are fast-paced monster hunter-solver stories, and I enjoyed them enough to wish that some of them were longer.  They fall between genres, a space that my favorite books often occupy.  I read them all in order, but you could certainly read one without the others.
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Mark Wijcik by day runs a car repair shop in rural Pennsylvania, but at night he hunts monsters. Several years ago, he lost his father, a brother, an uncle, and some other relatives to a wendigo attack that he survived. Now he hunts monsters such as zombies, ghosts, weresquonks, gnomes, and maybe aliens. This volume contains the first four novella collections of Mark Wijcik adventures sent in the same universe as a number of Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin's tales. If you like short adventures featuring hand to hand combat using carp and other improvised weapons, do pick up this volume!

I wish to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to read this volume!
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I can't say there was anything intrinsically bad about this collection--the author has a knack for dialog and the characters each have unique voices.  There was plenty of action and fast paced and a lot going on in each story, but none of them really ever grabbed me and made me anxious to get back to reading when I had to put the book down.  It took me FOREVER to finish this book!

I'm still giving this four stars, though.  It was well written, and I think the problems I had with the collection rest soley with my interests and not with the stories or the author.  Definitely a good read for people who are into Supernatural the TV show, or who are into monsters in a modern-day world.
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This is a great collection of three urban fantasy novellas featuring monster hunter and slayer of paranormal nasties, Mark Wojcik. Mark is an awesome protagonist: he's humble and determined. He's not some jackass alpha male who struts around with an attitude. He understands the dangers, and what will happen to innocent people if he fails.

I also really like his supporting cast: Father Leo, Chiara and Blair, Donny the werewolf, his cop buddy Louie, and (of course) Gus the ghost. The monsters they all face run the gamut from tulpas to gnomes to zombies to ghosts, and Mark is very creative in how he deals with all of them.

Highly recommended to fans of urban fantasy, especially of the monster hunter variety. -- lyradora
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This book hooked me from the first paragraph. I really enjoy the narrative. It is straight-up First person, as if the character were speaking directly to you. While adding enough inner dialogue that you know exactly which thoughts are running through his head as he is describing the action. This is my favorite writing style, and I have seldom seen it done better. 

It's hard to categorize this book. Para cozy doesn't work. Too much swearing and shooting to satisfy people looking for a little woo-woo with their mystery. If there is such a thing as an Urban cozy that might fit the bill. This entertaining selection of short stories: Spells, Salt & Steel, Open Season, Deep Trouble & Close Encounters, feels like what could have happened if Supernatural had a prequel. 'The Adventures of Bobby Singer'. 

The stories are quick, entertaining reads with explosive action and a lot of humor. They feel more like TV episodes or vignettes than an actual book. It lacked the structure of a good story arch. But once I started them I didn't want to stop. 

Mark Wojcik (pronounced Voy Chick, not Woah Chick) is a good'ol boy from Pennsylvania. He drinks more Jack Daniels than he should. Has an in with an explosives guy. And a pushover of a Doberman named Demon. (the pound named him, not Mark) Mark was blissfully unaware of the supernatural until a Wendigo killed most of his male family members and almost ended him too. 

Now he's the guy to call when the authorities scratch their heads and wonder what the hell happened. Is something chewing up docks and cabins at your lodge? Call Mark. Have a supernatural painting wreaking havoc in your auction house? Mark has the connections and the lighter fluid to cure your ills. Need to chase off a Troll? Mark knows where to score enough C4 to chase it to kingdom come. The hard part is not getting buried by the fallout.

The read is a little choppy. It really feels more like a TV script than a book. Inciting incident, action, resolution, cut and print. But what these stories lack in depth, they more than make up for with solid writing, and deftly applied humor. I like Mark. Next to Harry Dresden he is the only guy I know who cracks jokes while getting beat to hell by something straight out of Grimm's fairy-tales. He is snarky and brash and resilient as hell.
 
He is pretty much a one-man monster wrecking crew, so most of the time it's a whole 'lotta Mark. But sequences move quickly, are cleverly staged and funnier than they probably should be. And because Mark is a talented writer in his real life, the inside of Marks head is pretty durn entertaining.


The bloodsuckers were winning. Not vampires. Vamps I could handle. A nice sharp machete to the neck, and the head goes rolling fast as you can say, Drac's a dick.
Mosquitoes now those suckers are evil incarnate.


I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes zero sex and a quick adventurous read. There is not a lot of structure, but for a fast fun read it's hard to beat the adventures of Mark Wojcik. 

Please note: I received a digital copy for review. #netgalleyspellssalt&steel
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This series of books in one volume is incredible! It had me laughing out loud so often that my husband truly questioned my sanity! I couldn’t put it down. The characters of Mark and Sara, and Father Leo are spot on perfection. I found Sara to be highly relatable and Mark and Leo to be outstanding compliments to each other. The stories blended effortlessly together. I absolutely will be looking for more of these tales!
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Some of you may have noticed that I’m moving right along with the books in this crazy world created by Gail Z. Martin (AKA – Morgan Brice) and Larry N. Martin. You also may have noticed that I’m not exactly reading them in order. If you’ve read more than a couple of my reviews, you have probably noticed that’s not anything new. I have a little bit more back tracking to do because I’ve only scratched the surface – so stay tuned. 😉

Spells, Salt, & Steel 
That reading order thing? Yeah, this particular book in the Spells, Salt, & Steel series came out before the previous books I’ve read (Badlands, Witchbane, Sons of Darkness & Dark Rivers.) Which only means that I feel like I already knew Mark before I started, even though pretty much all of his interactions with the other books were by phone. It didn’t take me long to totally fall in love with Mark Wojcik. ❤

He shares a lot in common with his fellow hunters, mainly, most of them fell into this business by loosing someone they cared about to the monsters that most people don’t even know exist. One thing that I’ve noticed already is that these authors are great at writing monsters – in all their gory detail. *shivers* And for the record – I love every minute of it. This story, just like the others, has some really great supporting characters from all walks of life. What I really loved about Mark so far, was his sense of humor. There were some pretty gruesome moments in Spells, Salt, & Steel that were made a lot lighter by Mark’s quips and inner dialogue.

Basically, this was a great beginning and I can’t wait to continue. 😉

Open Season 
I can’t remember the last time I started reading an Urban Fantasy and highlighted as many “LOL” moments as I have while reading the books in this series. Mark faces real danger with every case he takes. Some think he has a death wish and sometimes he thinks he might as well. Yet, he’s determined to rid the world of creatures like the ones who tore his family from him – and not just the ones who didn’t survive the attack that changed his life. Then there are lines like this that can’t help but make me want to get to know him better:

So here I was, loaded up with more weapons than Elmer Fudd in duck season, looking for a carnivorous cryptid in a bottomless swamp. What could possibly go wrong?
F*ck-all, that’s what.

I’m beginning to adore Mark Wojcik. 😉

As the title suggests, most of the “hunts” that Mark is hired for in Open Season have to do with “hunting” and not just the kind Mark does. People are disappearing, evil’s lurking in unexpected places and new and interesting allies are found while old enemies are still just as crazy as ever. Through it all, the “family” that really matters is right by his side when he needs them most. ❤

Deep Trouble 
Another installment in the Spells, Salt, & Steel – Season 1 that makes me adore Mark Wojcik even more. He gains even more unlikely allies in Deep Trouble that add to the menagerie.

One of the things that make me like Mark so much (and there are many, many things) is the fact that he doesn’t just arbitrarily eliminate every “monster” he hunts down. If they’re not a danger to anyone around them, he finds a way to help them.

There’s only one more story left in Season 1 and with the promise of more to come, I can’t wait to get to know Mark and friends even better. 😉

Close Encounters 
Things get a little personal in Close Encounters and then a little crazy… uh crazier? than normal.

This is the last book in Season 1 of Spells, Salt & Steel, and if I didn’t already know that the 5th installment was already in the works, I’d be a little miffed. As it is, I’m going to have a hard time waiting to see what happens next. It seems that Mark’s ghost hunting escapades have just leveled up a notch.

All the stories in this installment are even more connected than all the others and trust me when I say, they end with a bang… literally. I love how this series is also connected with characters from other series – even characters that don’t belong to just Gail Z. Martin, Larry N. Martin and Morgan Brice. As a matter of fact, I’m planning on delving into the characters created by other authors because this world is amazing.

Stay tuned! I can pretty much guarantee that there’s MUCH more to come!

I received Spells, Salt, & Steel - Season 1 in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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A very good urban fantasy novel. It's fast paced, fun to read, engaging, and entertaining.
I liked the world building, the well written characters and the plot.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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I received a free copy of SPELLS, SALT, & STEEL by Gail Z. and Larry N. Martin in exchange for an honest review.  Mark Wojcik owns his own garage; however, he’s rarely there.  Instead, he’s off hunting monsters with the help of a few friends.  Mark’s quest to eradicate the things that go bump began the night he survived a wendigo attack while his family did not.  This book reads like a travel log of “went there and killed that” for the first 80%.  It’s scant on the details of Mark’s life outside of monster slaying, and there’s little focus on the events leading up to each hunt.  I had the feeling that, fleshed out, each event or two could have had its own book.  About 80% in, the book finally develops a storyline where a series of the “went there and killed that” events become linked, and the novel then works towards a conclusion.  The end of the book indicates that there is more to come.  

#SpellsSaltAndSteel #NetGalley
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I'm always excited to read any titles by Gail Z. Martin and Larry Martin. Their creative imaginations are wide-ranging and their writing is gifted. SPELLS, SALT, AND STEEL (isn't the title itself intriguing?) is one entry in a new series called "NEW TEMPLARS." Mark Wojcik lost most of his family to a Wendigo; now he owns his own mechanic's business and hunts the paranormal and supernatural entities that trouble and endanger humankind. He's not really a feckless hero, but he does have his comic moments, which lighten the burden for the reader if not for Mark himself, and the authors have the real scares locked down for us. I love their imaginations, as they come up with entities and dangers that try men's souls (and sometimes plan to eat souls). A fast-paced, always intriguing collection, SPELLS, SALT, AND STEEL SEASON ONE contains the first four novellas.
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