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During my quest to find any and all examples of good Urban Fantasy novels, started by my love of the Felix Castor stories, I have found many strange and wonderful worlds - That of Jack Nightingale, Constable Grant and Matthew Swift to name but a few. And now to my utter joy, here is Nathan "Nate" Garrett, who awoke in a warehouse ten years ago with no knowledge of who he is. His only clues - A gun, a Sword and a piece of paper with his name on it, along with a tendency to practice magic. And there is the backdrop for a magnificent tale of magic, mayem and general delightful madness. Set in two time periods, we slowly learn more about Nate, his true identity and what has brought him to where he is today. Using his skills as a thief, one particular job puts him on the path to this knowledge and also sets in motion a series of events that throw him right into the deep end of all things strange and magical. This was a great novel to read - I especially liked how the author has woven a mystical tale around his protagonist, taking on such great legends as Arthur and Merlin, Helen of Troy, amongst others. Nate as a character is both honourable and frightening in his actions, you will certainly root for him all the way, whilst at the same time feeling a vague need to give him a good talking too! The supporting cast of characters are all just as good - you will meet Vampires and Werewolves, Gargoyles and Psychics, all of whom add depth and heart to the tale. If you like Urban Fantasy you will love this. If you love Thrillers and Mystery but have not yet dipped your toe into the world of UF, then this is for you - you will get the best of all worlds. I don't think I have ever been so pleased to see the great words "Book 1" in the title! "Born of Hatred" Book 2 is now sitting on my Kindle and I will be heading back to see what Nate is up too very very soon. You should come too...
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on 5 May 2012
Set in modern day London but with a host of historical and fantasy characters, the story creates a world in which the ancient and the modern don't seem so far removed. Magic still exists and there are things that haunt the dark places of the world.

Ten years ago, Nate Garrett woke up in an alley with no memory of his past life. In building himself a new life as a contract thief, he has discovered a lot about himself, including his abilities as a sorcerer, but the truth about his past eludes him.

Hired to steal a laptop full of corporate secrets, he approaches the job like any other, but a nasty surprise is waiting for him. The secrets locked away in his mind interest a lot of people and some of the secrets are very dark indeed.

Nate has to rely on his instincts and the friendships he has formed in the ten years since his memory was obliterated. As things spiral out of control, he ends up in a race against time to figure out who he really is, in the hope that it's someone who knows how to win what looks like an impossible fight.

When I first started reading Crimes Against Magic, the use of amnesia set off warning bells but McHugh handles the concept thoughtfully. It defines Nate's character through both his unwillingness to form strong connections to the people around him and a ubiquitous sense of hiatus and expectation. Rather than a weak cliché plot device, it is a central shadow which touches and informs every element of the story.

While it takes a little while to get to the meat of the story, there is plenty of action to hold the reader's interest right from the get go. While I didn't hit that point of not being able to put it down until somewhere around the last third, I certainly never felt like I wanted to put it down for good.

Fans of urban fantasy and classic myths and legends will find plenty to love. There's also plenty of fast cars and guns, fiery women and gritty fist fights, so I think this book would check a lot of boxes among readers of crime, thriller and action adventure too.
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on 10 February 2013
Found my way to this book on the recommendations page at the end of the previous book I read on my Kindle. Read the sample, then jumped in with the massive investment of £1.92. Really excellent value.

I am a huge Jim Butcher fan & these books have a similar flavour, personally I could not give a stronger recommendation. Rather than me waffling on anymore & giving spoliers I would suggest Kindle owners give the sample a go.
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on 14 March 2013
I enjoy Urban Fantasy novels; the blend of ancient and modern, arcane and everyday. Crimes Against Magic is everything good about this genre. There's monsters new and old, and Magic. Lots of magic.

Nate has lost his memory, but the reader gets flashbacks into his past even while he's starting to unlock his long-lost memories. The mix of past and present is dealt with cleanly and easily, so there's not even the slightest feeling of not knowing what's going on. Meanwhile, the story fair rockets along at a breathless pace, with a cast of characters you can't help but like - even when you probably shouldn't.

I bought the second book before I'd finished the first, because I knew I'd want to go straight on. And I hope book three is out soon, because one thing I'm not is patient! Especially when the writing is this good.

The details are meticulous - the fight scenes are clearly drawn and easy to follow; the action is non-stop; and the details about weaponry is enough to be interesting without sounding like it's cut and paste from Wiki.

Bring on book number 3. And 4... and 5....
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on 1 May 2013
It's great to read British novels in this genre. There are far too few. This has hints of Butcher's Dresden but Nate Garret is much more confident. I would definitely recommend and I am now looking for more by this author.
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on 26 May 2015
4.5 stars for minor editorial issues

I know what you are. You’re the thing the monsters fear.” – Ivy, The Hellequin Chronicles

“If you believe, as the Greeks did, that man is at the mercy of the gods, then you write tragedy. The end is inevitable from the beginning. But if you believe that man can solve his own problems and is at nobody’s mercy, then you will probably write melodrama.” – Lillian Hellman

“So, Nate, I’ve heard rumours that you’re actually alive.” It would have to be rumour. You see, even Nate didn’t know that he really was Nate. He only had a piece of paper with the name Nathan Garrett on it, in what he discovered was his own handwriting, when he woke up in a filthy, shuttered warehouse ten years ago. Was that his name? Well, it was a good enough name, and he needed one. That’s what happens when you have no knowledge of your previous life, not the slightest memory.

Fast forward and Nate is a thief, taking the hard jobs, the unusual jobs, for an odd fellow living in a ‘lost’ section of the London underground rail tunnels, his jobs managed and recommended by his partner Holly, daughter of Mark and Lyn O’Hara, Mob Bosses Extraordinaire and two of the most dangerous people in London.

Well, if you don’t count the psycho gargoyles, nightmares, and various other things that go bump in the night.

This is my first reading of a Steve McHugh Hellequin Chronicles book. I have put them off for a bit, as the main character is male and I have really been wanting to read female heroes, but I am glad that I picked it up sooner than later. The settings are marvelously well done. The story moves back and forth between time periods, from the modern day, to ten years previously when Nate first lost his memories, and further back, to the 1400’s as Nate’s memories begin to return. The characters are sharply written and realistic. McHugh knows his Greek Mythology, and it shows in his deft handling of gods and monsters, sorcerers and just folks. The book has that dry, British delivery that I adore, interspersed with a sort of subliminal humour that I completely enjoyed.

The idea of magic actually taking over the sorcerer if he uses it too much was spectacular. Nate is very conscious of the power of magic, as well as the dangers – but a man can only take so much when the lives of innocent women and children are on the line, threatened by monsters with no compunction when it comes to savage murder of innocents. When he finally loses his s***, he is absolutely glorious!

If you are of the mind to read a solid modern fantasy with that sharp, dry ‘Brit Wit’ some British authors carry off so amazingly well, I would highly recommend the series. I have already downloaded the next, though honestly I don’t know when I will get to it with the huge backlist I have. But it will be worth it when I do, I have no doubt.

Highly recommended. Very minimal sex, some really nasty violence but not overdone, and a strong grasp of history makes the warping of history just right. Homer may have written the Illiad – but you know he did it several hundred years after the Trojan wars. “History is written by the victors who have hung the heroes.” – Sr.William Wallace
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on 29 July 2015
im generally a greater follower of traditional fantasy but the premise for this more modern tale yet with links to the past and connections to fantasy lore intrigued me into attempting this novel, what can i say apart from im stunned, onc e started i couldnt put it down and finished the novel in one (very late) night sitting.
Mr McHugh starts with rather a stark character yet with the flash backs we get to build a quite thourough and convincing main character who im overjoyed to see is not without flaw and has a significant dark streak with a take no prisoners attitude when you mess with those he calls friend. Nate is not perfect, he can get hurt physically and emotionally and this makes for some tense moments when your not quite sure everything is going to work out and it gets you fully caught up in the action and just cant put the book down.
The story just seemed to roll along at a breakneck speed and before you know it your done and significant hours have passed in the blink of an eye, some stories you read that have flashbacks tend to feel disjointed and spoil the flow of the story but here the author has managed to make them an integral part of the story and it doesnt even seem an interruption to the main plot . All in all i am thouroughly hooked and the rest of the series got added to shopping basket...... the only problem now is slowing down the consumption of the story lol
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on 23 April 2013
Take a Sam Spade / Harry Dresden first person gumshoe vantage point and the twist the story around to have a James Bondian love of women, cars and guns, a Jason Bournian loss of memory of learning to kick ass (and why), a Bruce Leesque love of Kung Fu, a parallel story line in 15th Century France and a cast of mashed up characters from myth and legend.

The author tries to do an awful lot and, probably because of that, the more I read the more I kept saying 'No, you're not going there... oh god, you did.' and not in a good way. This book doesn't just nuke the fridge, it nukes the fridge with MIRVs whilst riding a shark over a waterfall crisscrossed by rainbows full of dancing leprechauns.

And the characters all talk in the same voice. And there's so much exposition in the dialogue that it ticked my 'people don't talk like that, George Lucas' box. Also, some of the turns of phrase are just plain weird.

As someone who has attempted to write a book I know it's not easy, and that when you're writing it's easy to say 'go big or go home', but sometime the best advice is 'gently does it'. The Dresden Files does a lot of what this author is going for quite well, but the Dresden books built up to it gently.

On the positive side, if you like fantasy action then look no further. This book is very easy to read. Also easy to throw in frustration, but y'know.

All that said - y'know what they say about opinions.
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on 24 April 2013
I have recently finished reading all the Dresden files and was looking for something as good. I found it here. a cracking read, good characters and plot. Thank you Steve keep up the good work.
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on 21 April 2013
A genuine rival to Jim Butcher. I look forward to reading more. Recommended. Could do with better proof reading. Some slightly annoying Americanisms, like "dove" .
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