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Scott's ambitious but unwieldy second novel (after 1995's Traitor to the Race) explores black gay identity as it describes the power of the mysterious titular spellbook. At the start of the novel, Fidel Castro has just died, and amid the pandemonium of a near-future Miami, grad students Langston and Azaril search for their missing friend, Damian. Langston, struck by the odd nature of the chaos around him, visits his psychic aunt, Reginia, for help, and she gives him a hand-annotated copy of Hex, a book that belonged to Damian's father, Credence. With Damian's disappearance linked to the madness all around them, the answer lies in the powerful volume, amended by Damian's grandmother. Past and future entwine as they all search for answers that may well lie within themselves. The narrative shifts across a multitude of characters and eras, including New Orleans of 1953 and Los Angeles of 1971. Scott evokes an eternal present marked by strange, meaningful connections that defy the notion of coincidence. (Feb.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.