This book is a good reason why I don't read series. And another reason why I detest first person PoV novels so vehemently. This is number one (but it felt like number two) in the so-called "Prospero's War" series. There is no war here - not even close, so even the series title is a complete fraud. This is a novel set in a world where magic is real and available to anyone who wants to study it, yet nowhere in the portion of the book that I read (I made it to just over half way) was any magic used for anything! How dumb is that?
Dirty Magic sounded good from the title, and even the blurb, but this was 380-some pages of a bit of story and a heck of a lot of numbing filler. For god's sake this is a series! You have endless tedious volumes to fill, yet you keep interrupting the action in volume one to ramble about a meaningless blue plate lunch which moves the story not one inch? About a history with some non-villainous "villain" who looks more and more like he's going to be part of a triangle, when there's a murder investigation (not) going on? You ramble about your neighbors, about this dumb kid you're talking are of, and about your nasty partner - who is inevitably going to be the other leg of the triangle - and meanwhile what's happening with this critical murder investigation? Literally nothing. I'm sorry, but no! You don't get to treat me like that, and keep me as your audience. You don't get to insult my intelligence with trope, cliche, and rambling tedium. There are far too many other books out there competing with you, to diss your readers like that.
I kept turning another page and skimming a page or two here in the increasingly faint hope that at some point, a fire would light under Propero's ass and she would get into high gear, but it never happened, and if it ain't happened by the half-way point, then you don't get to have me as your reader for the other half. I have better things to do with my time.
The problem with magic stories is that once magic gets in, the rules of physics go out the window. This puts the author in the position of having to make up arbitrary rules which all-too-often make no sense - such as was the case here. As that great magician Winston Churchill said, never has so much trope and cliche been stuffed into so few ideas by so mindless.
Get this: the police were not allowed to use magic! Because it wouldn't stand up in court?! So they used none - not even magic to get hard evidence which would stand up in court! What is the point? If all you're telling is a drug story about a cliched cop then why add magic, and if you're going to add magic, why not actually let people use it? This story was pure bullshit, and I refuse to even remotely recommend it.