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Play with Fire and Midnight at the Oasis: Morris & Chastain Investigations [Paperback]

Justin Gustainis
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

26 April 2013 Morris & Chastain Investigatio
This omnibus contains two thrilling occult investigations featuring the urban fantasy sleuths Quincy Morris, grandson of Dracula's killer, and the white witch Libby Chastain. In Play With Fire, houses of worship are burning around the U.S., from churches, to synagogues, to mosques. Usually while the places are full of people. The fires are initially dismissed as random acts of violence, until Morris and Chastain uncover the deadly meaning behind the destruction, and the terrifying cause the arsonists seek to serve. In Midnight at the Oasis, Middle Eastern terrorists have conjured a deadly djinn that will lay waste to America unless Morris and Chastain can stop it first.

Frequently Bought Together

Play with Fire and Midnight at the Oasis: Morris & Chastain Investigations + Sympathy for the Devil + Evil Ways (Quincey Morris)
Price For All Three: 19.94

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  • Sympathy for the Devil 6.77
  • Evil Ways (Quincey Morris) 6.94


Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Solaris (26 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178108081X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781080818
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 581,422 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

The action doesn't let up, and the ending is satisfying and will leave readers hungry for more. I can't wait to sink my teeth into the sequel. The Dark Phantom on Black Magic Woman If you are looking for a fast-paced, intense, thrilling and fun book to read, look no further than Evil Ways. Fatally Yours on Evil Ways

About the Author

Justin Gustainis is a college professor living in upstate New York. He is the author of the Morris and Chastain Investigations series and The Hades Project (2003), as well as a number of short stories. In his misspent youth, Mr. Gustainis was, at various times, a busboy, soldier, speechwriter, and professional bodyguard.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended without reservation. 31 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback
This review is based on an advance review copy, supplied by the author.

This is actually an omnibus edition of books four and five of the series. They were originally released as two individual Kindle editions, which are also still available. Both stories are shorter than the previous books in the series (in fact at least one of the previous books is longer than these two stories combined) so they were combined for the paperback release. Although this is a review of the omnibus collection of books four and five, I actually read (and enjoyed) the entire series straight through, before embarking on this review.

There are many stories set in a world, where the existence of supernatural creatures is treated as a fact, known by many, if not all. It's unusual to find an author who has two such worlds, running simultaneously. In his 'Occult Crimes Unit' series, which I reviewed some time back, the supes are an established fact. Everyone knows they exist and they have special police departments to oversee supernatural affairs. In the Quincy Morris/Libby Chastain series, however, the knowledge of such things is much more limited. There are people within the intelligence services who are aware and South Africa does actually have a sort of Occult Crimes Unit within its police force, but for the most part, the general population are kept in blissful ignorance.

While Quincy Morris, who most of you will work out is a direct ancestor of the character in Bram Stoker's 'Dracula, is the lead character, I found myself much more taken with Libby Chastain, a white witch and his partner in many of his cases. In the first three books they go up against assorted evil witches and demons.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I'd like to see this series made into a film. 12 Nov 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Two great stories that power along driven by 2 very strong characters,although I'd say that this time Libby takes front stage as both stories seem to revolve round the choices she's made and the choices to come in later books. If you like supernatural books with an edge(and this series has it) try the books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Two cracking Gustainis tales 3 April 2013
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Justin's writing and to be honest I love the way that he brings other known characters from other authors into his world. It's creative, works wonderfully and to be honest a lot of readers probably wonder why there haven't been cross overs before.

What Justin brings in this book is two short stories that deliver not only kick ass action but wonderful character interactions as each investigation leaves its own marks upon the people within. Add to this cracking dialogue, a great use of misdirection and of course villains who challenge our heroes in a number of different ways and all round it's a cracking read. My only real grumble was the abrupt way that the second title ended, it seemed a little to sudden and neat but even so, it was a book that I had a lot of fun with and I can't wait to embark on Justin's next outing, personally I think he's one of the genres hidden gems.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read 4 Sep 2013
By William Wasley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The book contains two "supernatural" novellas based on a pair of private detectives, Quincey Morris and Libby Chastain (a white witch). I found the general story/layout similar to a Harry Dresden novel and almost as enjoyable. Both novellas mostly move along as the detectives interact with other "fringe" characters of the supernatural world and the Feds that may hire them. However, there are parts that seem detailed while others are less touched upon. And the actual "hero" (with adult scenes) is not necessarily Morris/Chastain.

The book and review were requested by the author - but have no affect on the review. But reading both novellas quite quickly I was definitely into the stories and would recommend for fans of this genre. Warning - While I will soon read the authors prior Morris/Chastain book (Sympathy For The Devil), both novellas contain a few tells that would have me advising others to first read the novel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Two for the price of one! 22 July 2013
By Mpoppins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Morris and Chastain Investigations: Play with Fire & Midnight at the Oasis by Gustainis, Justin (2013)I for one am thrilled to finally be able to catch back up with one of my favorite crime fighting duos, Morris and Chastain. I have had the book for awhile now, but my brother won the toss, and got to read it first. We both loved it, them I should say. I for one have always enjoyed the wit and banter in their evolving relationship. Can one really get too much gore, occult and vampires to get through the summer? It was a great summer read. Once again, Justin Gustainis did not disappoint.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars While it's got a solid supernatural police procedural, the characters and writing fall short. 25 April 2013
By Dark Faerie Tales - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.

Quick & Dirty: While it's got a solid supernatural police procedural, the characters and writing fall short of turning these novels into engrossing reads.

Opening Sentence: On the day that Quincey Morris got out of jail, Libby Chastain was waiting for him.

The Review:

I wanted to like this book. I tried really hard to get into the characters, but the fact is Morris and Chastain never felt real. Our supernatural investigators Quincy Morris and Libby Chastain makes saving the United States from paranormal monsters their day job, but it never felt real. Maybe it's the way the world-building is info-dropped on us like an anvil every time something new appears, or maybe it's just that in my mind Supernatural does it better, but I never bought into the stakes. I couldn't bring myself to care about our heroes or the danger to the U.S.

Libby Chastain is our resident witch and a bada$$. Quincy Morris, who at the start of this novel only just gets out of jail for what happened in the last novel, is following in his family business with the supernatural investigations. Their banter feels forced a lot of the time, but their conversations help keep the pace from lagging. Gustainis tries really, really hard to avoid any sexual chemistry between them, which only made me more aware of the fact. I get he wanted to keep the partners in the friend-zone, but by keeping them so segregated the author only draws the readers attention to their gender.

As for the plot of this novel -- it's actually two. Play with Fire follows a cultic leader and his minions on their arson quest across America and Midnight at the Oasis is about terrorists who unleash a djin. The process Chastain and Morris went through to save the day reminded me a lot of Law & Order, which was only undercut by the fact the reader knows what every character is thinking. The omniscient viewpoint could have been used to build more suspense, which all in all was lacking in the stories, but Gustainis does a good job avoiding too much headhopping. While I'm not sure if the omniscient track was the right POV for the stories, with the exception of too much backstory for irrelevant characters it didn't bother me as much as it normally does.

The world-building here isn't that complex. If it was, if there was some intricacies that made it different from other urban fantasies, maybe I could let go of some of the info-dumping. As it is, every character we run into gets a backstory that's not only unimportant, but irrelevant to the plot. Gustainis doesn't just reference what happens in previous books, but goes over exactly what happened in the previous novel. Even though I only picked up the series on book four, I didn't need to hear everything Morris and Chastain had ever done -- I assumed any references happened on a previous case, probably in a previous novel, I didn't need the three paragraph low-down on what happened to make that reference relevant. It doesn't sound like much, but all together??? The infodumps made the novel(s) twice as long as necessary.

All in all, even with two novels combined, it's not a long book. Once I got past the over-abundance of backstory, I fell into the story like any self-respecting crime show junkie. While I wish there had been some more twists and turns in the plot, all in all it's a satisfying, if not exceptional read.

FTC Advisory: Solaris provided me with a copy of Morris and Chastain Investigations: Play with Fire & Midnight at the Oasis. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review.
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended without reservation. 31 Dec 2013
By David L. Brzeski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This review is based on an advance review copy, supplied by the author.

This is actually an omnibus edition of books four and five of the series. They were originally released as two individual Kindle editions, which are also still available. Both stories are shorter than the previous books in the series (in fact at least one of the previous books is longer than these two stories combined) so they were combined for the paperback release. Although this is a review of the omnibus collection of books four and five, I actually read (and enjoyed) the entire series straight through, before embarking on this review.

There are many stories set in a world, where the existence of supernatural creatures is treated as a fact, known by many, if not all. It's unusual to find an author who has two such worlds, running simultaneously. In his 'Occult Crimes Unit' series, which I reviewed some time back, the supes are an established fact. Everyone knows they exist and they have special police departments to oversee supernatural affairs. In the Quincy Morris/Libby Chastain series, however, the knowledge of such things is much more limited. There are people within the intelligence services who are aware and South Africa does actually have a sort of Occult Crimes Unit within its police force, but for the most part, the general population are kept in blissful ignorance.

While Quincy Morris, who most of you will work out is a direct ancestor of the character in Bram Stoker's 'Dracula, is the lead character, I found myself much more taken with Libby Chastain, a white witch and his partner in many of his cases. In the first three books they go up against assorted evil witches and demons. Apart from a brief intro in the first book, Gustainis has so far avoided the obvious idea of pitting them against vampires.

In 'Play With Fire', houses of worship—of all denominations—are being burned to the ground, often while full of people. Morris and Chastain find themselves in a race against time to prevent Hell on Earth becoming a grim reality. Apparently, not all the denizens of Hell think it would be a good idea, so Morris and Chastain acquire some unlikely help in the form of a remarkably likeable demon.

Then, in 'Midnight at the Oasis' (I really don't have to point out the rock song origins of all the Morris and Chastain story titles, do I?), they take on an Afreet, a Djinn fire-demon, which I guess would be an obvious supernatural weapon in the arsenal of Middle-Eastern terrorists in this world.

Gustainis' writing is never less than gripping and lots of fun. Fans of the crossover will love the many hints of various other authors' work which pepper the series to varying degrees. Ranging from a New York cop named something-wicz, to an incident which takes place outside Del Floria's Tailor Shop. Among the more blatant, are the references to his friend, Jim Butcher's regular character, Harry Dresden, which will have fans hoping for a full-fledged team-up someday.

I read all four (five) books in three days. Recommended without reservation.
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Fun Adventures 15 Sep 2013
By David Ingersoll - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The author sent me a copy of this book in exchange for posting an honest review. And honestly? I would have enjoyed the book if I'd found it on my own in a bookstore. The protagonists are likable, the stories entertaining and the writing kept me turning pages. The book features two novellas starring Quncy Morris (great grandson of Dracula's killer) and Libby Chastain (a white witch). They are occult detectives who take on cases for both our government and private individuals. They are assisted in their adventures by a fun cast of supporting characters - a cabal of white witches, an earthbound demon, a resurrected sniper and a pair of enlightened FBI agents. The first story pits our heroes against a band of Satanists who are traveling across the US performing a deadly ritual. In the second story our heroes face a terrorist cell that controls a djinn and includes a few encounters with modern Templars along the way. I enjoyed this enough that I'll be reading Morris and Chastain's earlier adventures next.
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