🎧 Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher

October 10th, 2022 Kimberly Review 18 Comments

10th Oct

Dead Man’s Hand is the first novel in the Unorthodox Chronicles urban fantasy series set in Boston. Written by James J. Butcher and narrated by James Patrick Cronin, I quickly found myself pulled into the world of Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby, a down on his luck witch who finds himself at the center of a high-profile murder investigation. Suspense, a little snark and characters I cannot wait to spend more time with …

🎧 Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher
Dead Man's Hand
by James J. Butcher
Series: The Unorthodox Chronicles #1
Narrator: James Patrick Cronin
Length: 11 hours and 10 minutes
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Source: Publisher, Purchase
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.2x

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.

magical SUSPENSE urban well written

Indeed, fans of the Dresden Files and Alex Verus will find themselves cozying up to the Unorthodox Chronicles. It stands on its own and was a fantastic debut. This first in series has me excited about the stories to come.

I love urban fantasy particularly in audio format as was delighted to listen. James Patrick Cronin did a splendid job giving voice to our protagonist Grimsby, as well as Mayflower, known as the Huntsman. This narrator was new to me, but I am looking forward to hearing more from him.

We are introduced to the world filled with ordinary Usuals, and the paranormal Unorthodox, who live among humans and the governing body that polices them. The Department of Unorthodox Affairs whose Auditors; magically elite, government-sanctioned witches who have spells at their command, power, and prestige. There were some unique elements, such as the glasses Grimsby wore, I found fascinating.

When a powerful witch is murdered, Mayflower, the Huntsman who retired from the business, is called in. He does so because the witch was his friend. A note at the scene leads them to Grimsby. He’s a disabled usual who works at a human pizza joint that hosts birthday parties for children, complete with a castle, knights and a mote. Grimsby soon finds himself in danger and joins up with Mayflower. The tale that unfolds held me captive and entertained as auditors, familiars and danger come to call.

The pacing was well done as the world-building was woven throughout the tale. Magic lairs, strange creatures, deadly battles and character growth formed our hero. I have to say; I loved seeing the growth in Grimsby. He started out as this down on your luck dude with a solid moral code. He was flawed, noble, vulnerable and transformed out of necessity. The creature he unwittingly befriends was a favorite.

The story ended on a high note, but also dangled some knowledge that has me eager for the next audio in the series. While I received an advanced copy, I also grabbed a copy with a credit so I can listen again.

Amazon | Audible

Dead Man's Hand by James J. Butcher, narrated by James Patrick Cronin, delivered an exciting start to the Unorthodox Chronicles. #urbanfantasy #NewRelease #audiobookreview Click To Tweet

About James J. Butcher

James J. Butcher

JAMES J. BUTCHER spends most of his time in places that don’t exist, some of which he even made himself. What little time he has left is usually spent writing or exercising. He is the son of #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher, who introduced him to books, movies, and games. James lives in Denver and is working on his next novel.

About James Patrick Cronin

James Patrick Cronin

James Patrick Cronin began his audiobook career at twelve years of age opposite Christopher Lloyd in the book-on-tape of The Pagemaster. A classically trained stage actor with an MFA from the University of Louisville and a degree in philosophy, James has spent his years since college performing as an actor and a comedian on stages all over the world. He has performed everything from the classics to original material in Ireland, Scotland, Serbia, and Israel, as well as throughout the US. He has recorded over 100 audiobooks across an extensive range of genres.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

18 Responses to “🎧 Dead Man’s Hand by James J. Butcher”

  1. Wendy

    Another new fascinating urban fantasy series. I like that it has witches and good character growth. Wonderful review, Kimberly

  2. Lover of Romance

    What a wonderful one you loved here. I am so happy it worked for you. I see that many readers really love UF in audio. I do enjoy when the character building though is top notch.

    Great review!

  3. Felicity Grace Terry

    A fan of the Dresden Files though its been so long since I last bought any of the books that I must be way behind, I had wondered if this author was connected and it seems its a case of like father, like son. Another one to be added to my Wish List, this really appeals and not just because of the name.

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