Street Magic (Black London Series #1) by Caitlin Kittredge | NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Street Magic (Black London Series #1)

Street Magic (Black London Series #1)

3.6 125
by Caitlin Kittredge

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Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete's eyes—or so she thought. Now a detective, Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tipster's chilling prediction


Her name is Pete Caldecott. She was just sixteen when she met Jack Winter, a gorgeous, larger-than-life mage who thrilled her with his witchcraft. Then a spirit Jack summoned killed him before Pete's eyes—or so she thought. Now a detective, Pete is investigating the case of a young girl kidnapped from the streets of London. A tipster's chilling prediction has led police directly to the child…but when Pete meets the informant, she's shocked to learn he is none other than Jack. Strung out on heroin, Jack a shadow of his former self. But he's able to tell Pete exactly where Bridget's kidnappers are hiding: in the supernatural shadow-world of the fey. Even though she's spent years disavowing the supernatural, Pete follows Jack into the invisible fey underworld, where she hopes to discover the truth about what happened to Bridget—and what happened to Jack on that dark day so long ago…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The first in the Black London series, this dark tale takes Kittredge's supernatural shadows to the next level. At 16, Pete Caldecott witnessed the apparent death of punk rocker Jack Winter after he raised an ancient spirit. Twelve years later, Det. Insp. Caldecott has followed in her dead father's footsteps at Scotland Yard. She follows a tip about a missing child and finds Jack, now a heroin junkie claiming intimate knowledge of a parallel realm called the Black. As Jack detoxes and more children disappear, he joins Pete's quest to find them, teaching her to use hexes and spells as well as her physical abilities in the fight against a rising dark power. Kittredge (the Nocturne City series) knows how to create a believable world, and her fans will enjoy the mix of magic and city grit. (June)

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From the Publisher

“The first in the Black London series, this dark tale takes supernatural shadows to the next level…Kittredge knows how to create a believable world, and her fans will enjoy the mix of magic and city grit.” —Publishers Weekly

“Sensual and empowering, STREET MAGIC is an urban fantasy keeper of a tale. Magic, mayhem, the action never stops, I engulfed every single word and can't wait to go back for more.” —Romance Junkies

“Atmospheric and filled with a gritty realism...the novel crackles with conflict and perilous magic. For those who love their urban fantasy hypnotically treacherous, this book's for you!” —(4 1/2 stars) Romantic Times

“Kittredge introduces readers to the dark side of life and magic in a well-formed fictional world with characters that you can't help but like. STREET MAGIC jumps right in to non-stop supernatural action, taking urban fantasy fans on a wild and bumpy ride. I'll be looking forward to seeing where Pete and Jack lead us next.” —Darque Reviews

“Kittredge is a winner!” —Jim Butcher on the Nocturne City series

“Fast-paced, sexy and witty with many more interesting characters than I have time to mention.” —Fresh Fiction on the Nocturne City series

“Dark and cutting edge.” —Romantic Times on the Nocturne City series

“Smart, gutsy.” —Karen Chance on the Nocturne City series

“Hot, hip, and fast-paced.” —Lilith Saintcrow on the Nocturne City series

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Black London Series , #1
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Michaelmas daisies bloomed around Pete Caldecott's feet the day she met Jack Winter, just as they had twelve years ago on the day he died.

That day, the unassuming tomb in a back corner of Highgate Cemetery was overrun with the small purple flowers. Jack crushed them under his boots as he levered the mausoleum door open.

Fear had stirred in Pete's stomach as the tomb breathed out bitter-smelling air. "Jack, I don't know about all this."

He flashed a smile. "Afraid, luv? Don't be. I'm here, after all."

Biting her lip, Pete put one foot over the threshold of the tomb, then the other. A wind whispered out from the shadowed depths and ruffled her school skirt around her knees. She backed out of the doorway immediately. "We shouldn't be here, Jack."

He sighed, pushing a hand through his bleached crop of hair. It stood out in wild spikes, gleaming in the low light. His hair was the first thing Pete had seen of Jack in Fiver's club three months ago, molten under the stage lights as he gripped his microphone like a dying man and screamed.

"Don't be a ninny, Pete. Nothing in here is going to bite you. Not yet, anyway." The devil-grin appeared on his face again. Jack held out his hand to her. "Come into my parlor."

Pete grasped his hand, felt where the ridges of his fingers were callused from playing guitar, and used the warm shiver it sent through her to propel herself into the tomb. The stone structure was bigger than it appeared from the outside and her hard-soled shoes rang on the stone when she planted her stride firmly. She hugged herself to ward off the chill.

"I'm not a ninny."

Jack laughed and tossed the green canvas satchel he'd brought into a corner. "Sorry. Must have been thinking of your sister."

Pete punched him in the shoulder. "That's your girlfriend you're slagging off. You're wicked."

Jack caught her hand again and folded it into his, eyes darkening when Pete didn't pull away. "You don't know the half of it."

Pete met his stare, listening to them both breathe for a moment before she disengaged her hand. "Thought you said we were here to do some magic, Jack."

Jack cleared his throat and moved away from her. "So I did." He pulled a piece of chalk from his pocket and began drawing a crooked circle on the flags, one that quickly grew lines and squiggles radiating toward the center. "And we will, luv. Just got to set up some preparations to ensure everything stays nice and nonthreatening for your first time."

The way he said it could have made any of Pete's classmates at Our Lady of Penitence blush. "Jack, why'd you bring me?" she asked abruptly. "This pagan demon-worshipper crap is MG's thing, not mine. I shouldn't even be alone with you. You're far too old."

"I'm twenty-six," Jack protested. He finished the circle, which had grown into something that resembled a cage, giving Pete the sense of flat, cold iron. Jack took two fat candles, black and white, from his satchel. "You act like I've got one foot in the sodding grave, you do."

And I'm sixteen, Pete had whispered to herself. And if MG ever found out the two of us have been alone— if Da ever found out . . .

"I asked you to come along because I need you," Jack said, sitting back on his heels. His serious tone pulled Pete back from imagining what if MG witnessed the scene. Her sister could throw a fit akin to a nuclear explosion. And Da— he'd send Pete to a convent, or a tower, or wherever angry fathers sent recalcitrant daughters in fairy tales.

Pete blinked. "Why on earth would you need me?"

Jack brushed the chalk dust off his hands and stood, patting the pockets of his battered black jeans. "Let's see— you're sensible, cool in crisis, rather adorable. What bloke wouldn't want you about?"

"Shut your gob," Pete muttered. "What'd MG say, she heard you talking like that?"

"MG," said Jack. "MG knows what I'm about. She wouldn't say a bloody thing, because she won't ask and I won't tell her." He searched his studded jacket next, without fruition. "Bloody fucking hell. You got a light?"

Pete dug in her school bag and found her Silk Cut and disposable lighter, hidden inside a tampon box. MG might treat Pete indifferently at best, but she did teach her a few good tricks.

"Cheers," Jack said when she tossed it to him, lighting the candles and placing them at the head and foot of the circle. The longer Pete looked at it, the more her eyes hurt and her head rang, so she looked away, at the bar of light that was the door back to the world.

"Almost there . . ." Jack muttered. He pulled his flick-knife from a hidden pocket— or maybe it just appeared, in the dim light Pete couldn't be sure— and pricked his finger, squeezing three precise droplets over the chalk.

Pete had watched Jack work magic before, simple street tricks like disappearing cards, the queen of spades slipping between his thin fingers, or small conjurations like a cigarette that came from the packet already lit.

But here, in the tomb, Pete remembered thinking, it was different. It was real magic. Silly, of course, that, through and through. She was the daughter of a police inspector, and the Caldecott family— less MG— didn't put stock in that sort of thing. But Jack . . . Jack made you believe, with his very existing. He crackled the air around him like a changeling among men. People looked into his eyes and believed, because you could see a devil dancing in the bright flame of his soul.

Jack Winter was magic.

"Ready?" Jack asked from the head of the circle. Pete felt something wild and electric settle around them, like a phantom storm brushing her face with rain.

"What should I do?" Pete asked. Jack beckoned to her and hissed when she almost scuffed over some of the markings.

"Mind the edge, luv. Wouldn't want you lopped off at the knees."

"Bloody hell, really?" Pete asked, eyeing the circle circumspectly. She wasn't her sister, nattering on about "the energy," but she knew, in a way that was deep and brooked no logical argument, that she had stepped into something otherworldly when she came to this place with Jack. He radiated a power she could taste on her tongue.

"The circle won't hurt you," Jack admitted, stroking the darker stubble at his jaw. "But don't disturb the sigils. You don't want what'll be inside on the outside. Trust me." He took Pete's hand as she got close and raised the flick-knife. Pete jerked, but he was too quick, scoring a neat crosscut on her palm.

"Ow!" Pete said in irritation. All of the questions she should have asked raced to mind in a sick sensation of falling and the excitement of a moment ago washed away on a red tide of fear.

She hadn't asked why they'd come here, sneaked past the admissions booth at the cemetery gates and broken into this tomb, hadn't pressed Jack on purpose, because then she'd get scared, and Jack was never scared. Not when a pack of skinheads made trouble in Fiver's. Not of Da, DI Caldecott himself, who had chased off every one of MG's previous deadbeat boyfriends. Jack just extended a hand and a smile and people would throw themselves off Tower Bridge to stand next to him, to reap a little of the danger that seemed to permeate everything he touched.

As the chalk soaked up her blood, the sigils fading to red like a blushing cheek, Pete knew she didn't want to pull back. Questions be damned. Jack wanted—needed—her here, and she was here.

"You all right, luv?" Jack said, pressing a tattered handkerchief over her cut and closing her fast around it.

"I'm fine. I'm ready," Pete said. She wouldn't think about what might crawl out of a tomb under Jack's deft hands, nor about how mad her believing that Jack had power was in the first place. She'd just know that he picked her, Pete Caldecott, who never had friends or friends who were boys, and bollocks to a boyfriend— if she had one of those, she'd go buy a lotto ticket. Jack Winter, magician and singer for the Poor Dead Bastards, needed Pete with him in this old dark place.

Jack guided Pete to the black candle at the foot of the circle, and she made sure to stand ramrod straight so he'd know she wasn't scared, not a bit, wasn't thinking this was a bit dodgy and odd. Not Pete.

"Now you hold on to me," Jack said, lacing their fingers together in a blood-smeared lattice across the markings on the floor. "And what ever happens, you keep holding on—all right?"

"What might happen that'd make me let go?" Pete's stomach churned into overdrive.

Standing at his spot by the white candle, Jack flashed her the devil-grin one more time. "That's what we're going to find out."

He started to speak Irish, long passages, rhythmic. It sounded like it should be solemn, intoned by robed priests over a stone altar, but Jack half slurred through the stanzas as though he were reciting lyrics to one of his songs and had a few pints in him while he did it.

For a moment, nothing happened. Pete looked at Jack through her lashes, half feeling pity because he seemed so set on something odd or spooky taking place.

And then something did.

Pete felt the pull, the separation of things that were comfortable and real from the dark place behind her eyes. Something was swirling up, through the layers of the veil between Pete and Jack and what lay beyond, and she could almost see it, a welter of black smoke growing in the center of the circle as Jack raised his voice, chanting rhythmically now that the fruits of his spell were visible. The chalk lines clung like bone fingers, holding the smoke-shape in place.

Jack's eyes flamed blue as the spell snapped into place, and the fire traveled over the planes of his cheeks and his arms and hands and blossomed all around him as Pete gasped, and the thing in the circle grew more and more solid.

The shape was human, a wicker man of smoke. The chalk lines did not hold it for more than a moment, and it fixated on Pete, eyeless but staring through her all the same. And then it was moving, in a straight and inexorable line, right for her. The primitive cold in her gut told Pete something was horribly wrong.

"Jack?" Her voice was high and unrecognizable to her own ears. The wicker man had a face now, and hints of silver in its eye sockets, and hands with impossibly long fingers that reached out, clawed at her. Whispers crowded Pete's brain, and a pressure fell on her skull so unbearable that she screamed, loudly.

And Jack, where was Jack? He stood watching the smoke with a measured eye, as if Pete were the mouse and he were the python enthusiast.

"Jack," she said again, summoning every steady nerve in her body to speak. "What is it?"

He bent to one knee and quickly chalked a symbol on the floor. "Bínasctha," he breathed.

The wicker man stumbled, like a drunk or a man who just had a heavy load thrown on him. But he walked still, one foot straight in front of the other.

"Ah, tits," hissed Jack. He rechalked the symbol, and still the wicker man walked.

"Jack." She said it loudly, echoingly so, the first fissures of real panic opening in her gut.

"Shut it, will you!" he demanded. Pete saw from his expression that he was finally catching on to what she knew—never mind how; it had fallen into her head when that terrible pressure had eased, like waking up and suddenly knowing the answer to last night's math homework. She just knew, as if she'd experienced this ritual a thousand times before, that Jack's magic was awry and now the smoke man was awake and walking the world.

"Is that all you can say?" she cried. "Jack, do something!"

He tried. Pete would always say that, when she had to talk about the day, even though her memories of the whole event were thin and unreliable by choice. He tried. And when Jack tried to keep the wicker man from her, all that he got for his efforts was screaming, and blackness, and blood.

Excerpted from Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
Copyright © 200p by Caitlin Kittredge
Published in June 2009 by St. Martin's Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the Nocturne City and Black London series, as well as several short stories. She started writing novels at age 13, and after a few years writing screenplays, comic books and fan-fiction, she wrote Night Life, her debut novel. She is the proud owner of an English degree, two cats, a morbid imagination, a taste for black clothing, punk rock, and comic books. She's lucky enough to write full time and watches far too many trashy horror movies. She lives in Olympia, Washington.

Caitlin Kittredge is the author of the Nocturne City and Black London series, as well as several short stories. She started writing novels at age 13, and after a few years writing screenplays, comic books and fan-fiction, she wrote Night Life, her debut novel. She is the proud owner of an English degree, two cats, a morbid imagination, a taste for black clothing, punk rock, and comic books. She’s lucky enough to write full time and watches far too many trashy horror movies. She lives in Olympia, Washington.

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Street Magic (Black London Series #1) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Melhay More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, so much so I was not able to put it down until I was through the whole thing. I really enjoyed the banter between the two main characters, Pete & Jack. They really have one heck of a love/hate relationship. The British slang was a great touch as well. It took me a little bit to get what they ment, but when I caught on to the meanings I absolutely loved it. I got such a kick out of the slang even when it was in anger. There where a few moments I got slightly confused with the flashes to the dreams that Pete was having then to reality. It took me a moment to catch on to what was going on, then to switch my thinking. But, it didn't take me long as I went through the book to catch on and know what to look for, and in learning the authors writting style it became easier for me to pick the dreams out. I really liked Jack's character more from the beginning. To me there seemed to be more layers to him than appeared to the others in the story. To me I thought he out shined Pete through most of the book, but by the end of the book Pete had taken her place right up there by/with Jack. In the end of the book I realized how much Pete had grown as a character through the book, and loved her for it. Jack's character grew as well but not by the leaps and bounds that Pete did. I know there is a short story of Jack in the book Huntress, which hold a few short stories by four different authors. I have this book on my shelf in my to be read pile. But, the second book in the Black London Novel series is Demon Bound. Based on the preview at the back of the book, Street Magic, it looks as it is to be released December 2009. I will be watching the shelves for this on in December.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed really this story. Pete Caldecott is a tough cop on the hunt for a sadistic killer who kidnaps children. This story is dark and gritty and set in a seedy dark London, where magic exists but is hidden. Twelve years prior, Pete as a young girl and Jack Winters, a young mage, experience a trauma so deep Jack turns to heroine to escape. Going cold turkey and getting clean, Jack assists Pete with her investigation and inadvertently submerges her into the dangerous shadow realm. Pete is a strong heroine and reminds me a lot of Luna's character from Caitlin's Nocturne City. Thankfully Pete isn't as reckless and self-destructive as Luna. I highly recommend this new series to dark urban fantasy readers and look forward to the next book in the series, Demon Bound due out 12/1/09.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really didn't like this book. I kept reading it because I thought it would get better -- but it never did. The characters were not well developed. I read alot of books like this and the plot was boring and thoroughly unbelieveable.
BrookeReviews More than 1 year ago
A Blurb: Pete Caldecott has a dark past, a past that she has vowed to keep buried in the darkest depths of her memories, but her nightmares are getting worse making it difficult to sleep. Pete is a detective and her current case is finding children that are disappearing. When she receives a request from an informant to meet him, alone, she is shocked to find out that it's Jack Winter, a huge part of that dark past that she thought was dead and gone. The once punk rocker who mesmerized her when she was 16 is there in the flesh and strung out on heroin. He might be screwed up, but his tip leads her directly to the missing girl. When more children go missing, she finds herself going back to Jack for help. They will have to face some dark powers that may very well get them both killed, but Pete knows that working with Jack is the only way to save the kids (and themselve) before it's too late. The Review: Pete Caldecott, our heroine, is tough as nails, but not in an overly done annoying way. She can stick up for herself, and isn't the type that needs rescuing, nor does she want it. Jack Winter, the hero, is rough around the edges and extremely powerful. The two have great chemistry and the tension between them could bring grown men to their knees. Fans will love this new duo, and will be left sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for more. Street Magic is a gritty, dark, and thrilling addition to the Urban Fantasy genre. Being based in London gives the book a gloomy feel with it's foggy streets and shadows lurking in every corner. Kittredge not only has a way with words, but a way with worlds. She's a master at creating new and edgy places for her characters to dwell in. Making both of her series a pleasure to read. For Street Magic , she does a terrific job of using British slang without overdoing it, and this makes the book even more enjoyable. You'll probably have learned a few new words for daily use after reading this one! So how about it? Get your sodding arses out to the bookstore and pick this one up! :)
harstan More than 1 year ago
In London, sixteen year old Pete Caldecott met handsome mage Jack Winter. The punk rocker showed off his magical skills trying to impress the teen. However, Pete witnessed more than she wanted to see when a spirit he summoned killed Jack. Over time Pete assumed Jack used an illusion to fool her as magic is not physics since it does not exist.----------- A dozen years layer Detective Inspector Pete receives a tip about a kidnapped girl Bridget. The tip proves reliable, but the informant shocks the DI to her DNA core; somehow Jack is back or at least a heroin addicted version of him. He insists there is a parallel realm the Black. With several more abductions of children, Jack convinces Pete to cross over to fight against an evil kidnapper with paranormal power. She agrees to travel to the shadow realm and learn how to use spells if he detoxes ---------- Leaving Nocturne City for now, Caitlin Kittredge proves she has STREET MAGIC with the super first Black London urban fantasy. Inspector Pete is a terrific center of gravity as a police detective who holds the eerie exciting story line together, but it is the dark gritty streets of London that she works enhanced by shadowy Jack that owns the tale. A sort of cross between Simon Green's Nightside and Jim Butcher's Dresden, sub-genre fans will appreciate Ms. Kittredge's view of a gloomy paranormal London.---- Harriet Klausner
QueenofPalms More than 1 year ago
Though I loved Caitlin Kittredge's Nocturne City series, I couldn't get into this one. The characters tried to be gritty, tough, and conflicted but came across as pathetic and unfocused. For a police officer, Pete seemed to float from one situation to another with very little purpose and direction. The author introduced characters with no explanations and unrelated events popped into the plot - maybe a setup for the next book? British slang and profanity overwhelmed the dialog. Maybe the second book gets better but I doubt that I will read it.
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Seree More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy a bit of lightness and/or humor with dark paranormal tale this book/series is not gor you. However, if you enjoy stark reality mixed with the paranormal then this is some of the best offered. Charactors are sketched in complex layers. The world of those who can see and mingle with the Black is highly complex, dysfunctional and harsh. The Black coexists side by side with the "normal" world while humans with psycic abilities and denzens of the Black cross in and out of both realms with ease or difficuty dependent upon their level of psycic power. While there are facinating and imaginative paranormal elements which make up this world the true tale is of Pete and Jack and their relationship. Unalike as two individuals can possibly be they are committed to each other and will go to great lengths to see the other safe. Jack has a great many charactor flaws but he values the basic decency and strength of Pete. The one person who means the world to him is also the one he endangers the most even as he attemts to protect her. Pete knows Jack is no prize but she recognizes the decency within him and her recognition enables Jack to attempt to be decent even as an old evil rides his back and another claims his soul.
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Buffy422 More than 1 year ago
I haven't found a book I could get into for a while. This is a problem. LOL. But I had no problem getting into this book. I loved Pete and especially Jack. Can't wait to see what is in store for the two of them!
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