Review | White Trash Warlock – David R. Slayton

About the Book

Adam Binder hasn’t spoken to his brother in years, not since Bobby had him committed to a psych ward for hearing voices. When a murderous spirit possesses Bobby’s wife and disrupts the perfect life he’s built away from Oklahoma, he’s forced to admit that maybe his little brother isn’t crazy after all. Adam is happy to escape the trailer park and get the chance to say I told you so, but he arrives in Denver to find the local witches dead.

It isn’t long before Adam is the spirit’s next target. To survive the confrontation, he’ll have to risk bargaining with powers he’d rather avoid, including his first love, the elf who broke his heart.

The Binder brothers don’t realize that they’re unwitting pawns in a game played by immortals. Death herself wants the spirit’s head, and she’s willing to destroy their family to reap it.

260 pages (kindle)
Published on October 13, 2020
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First of all, dear reader, I must apologize for being quiet this week. It has truly been a thing that has taken place in my life, and I feel like it’s finally starting to settle down. My husband ended up having to work 30 hours between two shifts on Saturday and Sunday (which was super fun). Then, he spent a night in the emergency room (he’s fine-ish now, thankfully). As a result the entire family got about three or four hours of sleep. I had my cover art reveal. It’s just been a parade of events. However, here we are, on Wednesday, and things are chilling out. 

Anyway. 

I picked up White Trash Warlock on a lark. It seemed interesting, and I was in the mood for some urban fantasy that was, perhaps, a bit different than the urban fantasy I typically see on bookshelves. What I did not anticipate, is losing two nights of sleep just plowing through this book, or having so much fun reading it, it became the focal point for all my thoughts. 

I’m not a huge urban fantasy reader. I do love the genre when I find a really good book in it, but I tend to feel like a lot of UF is very formulaic, and while that is fine, especially if the author is a good one who knows their stuff, it can get a bit… unsurprising after a while. However, White Trash Warlock instantly showed me that this is not the formulaic urban fantasy I tend to shy away from. This book is something else entirely. It’s a lot of fun, but also full of a lot of depth, and heavy themes that absolutely rocked my world. Slayton’s ability to attack these deeper themes fearlessly, quite honestly, thrilled me. 

Adam Binder is a character I loved. Equal parts ego and uncertainty, he shows angst in all the right places, and confidence (sometimes too much) when he’s on the job. One of my favorite things is when an author shows both the strengths and weaknesses of the magic with which they are working, and I loved how that presented itself here. Binder is sensitive, which means sometimes he gets overwhelmed by the thoughts and emotions of the people around him, sometimes he hears voices. 

This has driven a wedge between him and his family. While Binder is confident in his own life, and his own purposes, his family is less certain. His brother had him committed for insanity. After being estranged from that part of his family for years, recent events with his brother’s wife is forcing him to not only face his painful past, but to solve a supernatural event, which is forcing his brother to realize that Adam is not, in fact, insane, but might be the only thing standing between his brother’s wife and a very bad end. 

“People aren’t less just because they don’t live the way you do.”

“I didn’t say that,” Robert said.

“You think it,” Adam said. “You think we’re all trash because we don’t have nice cars and ugly houses. Life isn’t just about money.” 

So as you can see, a lot gets flipped on its head here, and I will readily admit, one of my favorite parts of the book was how Slyton worked with these elements, with the discomfort between family members, the haunting events of the past that very much cause ripple effects into the present, and how all parties must bend to make room for each other, and work together to solve what is going on. It was very well done, and carefully handled, and I could easily feel the pain and discomfort between Adam and his brother, and Adam’s drive and yearning to not only be understood, but accepted, and have his hardships seen by those who did him wrong. I loved it. 

The book is paced quite well. There never is a dull moment. Whether Adam is dealing with supernatural baddies, or his own family, or the various mires he finds himself in, there is always something happening. 

“Bobby gripped his fork. “I just want you to be happy, Adam, to be-“

“Normal. I know,” Adam said, trying to keep calm. “But I’m not normal, Bobby. And I don’t want to be. Stop trying to fix me.”

The supernatural elements of the book are another place I really need to give Slayton a standing ovation. Again, urban fantasy as a genre tends to be pretty formulaic, and while I did see some tropes, the way Slayton handled them, turned them all on their heads. Nothing ended up being what I thought it was, nor was it handled in the way I predicted. He has a deft way for setting up a scene, and then unmooring both Adam and the reader at the same time. There were quite a few occasions where I thought I knew what to expect from a particular scene, but left it wondering just how Slayton managed to flip the script as well as he did, and so deftly I didn’t even notice it happening until it had already happened.

My one complaint about the book as a whole is that it felt too short. I would have loved this to be longer, to really immerse myself in both Slayton, and this paranormal present day he’s crafted for his readers. I did feel, occasionally, that some events would have held more of an impact if they’d been given more time to the breathe. More, I just didn’t want the story to end. 

At the end of the day, White Trash Warlock is the kind of urban fantasy I love to read. Surprising, well-written, with deep emotional notes that really worked for me. This book was a huge (pleasant) surprise. The Adam Binder series is now an auto-buy.

5/5 stars