David R Slayton’s White Trash Warlock, read by Michael David Axtell, was a mostly enjoyable book. I have no complaints about the writing or the performance.
What did bother me about the book might not even matter to someone else, so I’ll start with the positive.
The main character is likable, which is vital for me. Adam Binder is from a trailer park in a small town in the Midwest, the product of a broken home, a high school dropout, pretty much all the clichés that one associates with “White Trash”.
His big problem, though, is that he is a witch, sensitive to the unseen world. His mother and his older brother are not, and they had him committed to a mental institution in his teens.
He is also homosexual, which is part of who he is, but not all of who he is. The fact that he sees spirits and landscapes that nobody else can see is far more important to his development than liking boys–which is a refreshing change from most Alphabet Fantasy. (And for readers who are squicked out by gay sex, there’s only a couple of kisses and nothing more. His relationship with other male characters is important to the plot, but soft focus.)
I really like the central conceit of the novel, which is that Adam has enough magic to screw up his life, but not enough to do a lot. He’s not Harry Dresden, or even Harry Potter. His power is very subtle, mostly being able to sense when something supernatural is happening. His visions don’t come with subtitles and he spends most of the novel trying to make sense of the wider spiritual world that he can see but not understand.
Which brings me to my main complaint. Without getting into spoiler territory, Adam is drawn into a magical event that is way out of his league. It starts with a call from his estranged brother, asking for help with his sister-in-law, who has become strange. It seems, at first, to be an ordinary case of possession, which Adam could handle with smudges and charms, but it escalates quickly.
Personally, I would have preferred that the novel stayed at the trailer park level of magic, but the plot turns on the big wheels of the supernatural world, with ancient entities and immortal royalty.
This having been said, I can still recommend the book. It surprised me, and maybe disappointed me a little, but I can forgive straying into Prophecy Of The Chosen One territory a little.
All in all, recommended.