Book Review: A Witch Steps into My Office, by Douglas Lumsden

Lumsden’s previous novel left me wanting more, so it didn’t take me long to delve into this second book in the series. Nor was I disappointed – this is an excellent sequel, even better than the previous.

What to Expect

Expect a story that reads like Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, but with mobile phones and magic. This is the second noir urban-fantasy case for Alex Sutherland. This novel has even more of the hard-boiled atmosphere that before, from slang and aesthetics to the pace and crime aspects, as well as deeper world-building. This time Alex is given to solve a murder before it takes place – but which he can’t prevent from happening. Naturally the mystery gets complicated, with few leads but plenty of human-emotional angles.

What I liked

Loved the writing style (I do like the classic hard-boiled detectives), from the characterisation to the language. Lumsden does an excellent job of adhering the genre aesthetics, while keeping it fresh and current (as our culture has moved on since the times the classics were written).

The magic system is very interesting, as is the world in general. Lumsden has chosen a Meso-American backdrop, which is refreshing, and his treatment of were-creatures is wonderfully unique. No mean feat, bringing it all seamlessly together.

What to be aware of

This is the second book of the series. While it can be read first (there are only some passing references to events in the previous books), I do think Lumsden has an over-arching, long-running plan (one I’m very much interested in seeing!), so perhaps best read in order.

Also, noir detectives are not everyone’s cup of tea. This is an excellent example of the best of the genre, just know what you’re getting into.

Felix’s Review

Felix is also eagerly waiting Alex’s next adventure. Despite the time and culture separating their background, it seems like they share several characteristics and would enjoy swapping stories over wine (Felix is curious as to what that “Scotch” thing is). Felix particularly liked Alex’s doggedness in chasing clues, and his brilliance in putting them all together.


If you love the detective side of urban fantasy (rather than thriller or romance), then you absolutely have to read this novel! I am very eagerly awaiting the next one in the series.

Enjoying the reviews, but wondering who the heck is that Felix fellow? Glad you asked! He’s the protagonist of the Toags, Daggers, and Magic series, an historical-fantasy blend of a paranormal detective on the background of ancient Rome. You can meet him on the pages of the free short stories!

1 Comment

  1. Thanks for yet another great author recommendation. I read A Troll Walks into a Bar and immediately followed it with this one the next day. You’re right, the second book is so much more twisted than the first you never know who to trust. Can’t wait for the next to come out.

    Liked by 1 person

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