Meet Madison “Big Mad” Fisher
She’s a firecracker with a thirst for good beer, and what she “lacks” in height, she makes up with a massive take-no-shit attitude. I mean, she’ll gladly take a bullet to get some downtime from her every day life of adulting. I loved Mad to pieces!
Kit hung up her brass knuckles, but the shadows of her past always lingered. Now they’re back to claim her.
Kit “Fadulous” Hamley, magazine editor, activist and former punk rocker, is a well-known loudmouth in St Alphege’s. She works tirelessly to hold local authorities to account. Some say she’s making up for her criminal youth. Others spread rumours of witchcraft. Only a handful of people know how dark her secrets really are.
When an old friend warns Kit that a former rival has resurfaced, those secrets start to resurface. People have gone missing, with body parts and strange symbols left behind, and someone is stalking Kit. The gang she abandoned are scared stiff and her magic-wielding bandmates are long gone. Kit herself is a target, and if she can’t unravel exactly how this new feud connects with her past mistakes, it could kill her.
Decades older, a little wiser, and contrary as ever, Kit’s going to remind them all what a punk witch can do.
Get ready for a riotous ride into the seedy underbelly of St Alphege’s, where gang warfare and occult conspiracies tear ordinary lives apart. Dyer Street Punk Witches is a standalone urban fantasy thriller, packed with tough, subversive characters and tense twists – you won’t be able to put down.
The difference is that if they come for you, or they come for me, they will find we can fight back. Do not be afraid, my sisters. Be brilliant.
Dyer Street Punk Witches was my inevitable return to the enigmatic city of Ordshaw, drenched in mystery and dangerous esoteric ongoings, and how exciting it has been to experience it from a whole different angle deep in the depths of St Alphege’s! Phil Williams always reels me in with his gritty tales of trickery and shenanigans, so I went into this novel with high hopes. From the gate readers are bombarded with a hard-hitting punk attitude, violent gang rivalries, socioeconomic issues being brought to light, and mystifying magic to tingle the senses. What a wild ride! I swear, Williams’ writing has gotten better and better with each book of his I’ve read.
Williams presents his story, a blend of dark urban fantasy and crime thriller, all told with an almost noir voice. Pinpointing the power of written word, and the importance of communication, this homage to the fem rock movement is, at its heart, a tale of facing the pains of yesterday and learning to forgive. While fighting the good fight and exposing corruption, former rocker and all-around badass Kit Fadulous finds herself being dragged back into a world she’s tried her hardest to leave behind decades earlier. Have the sins of her past come back to haunt her, or is there something darker at play?
But if a few more people let themselves enjoy fantasies of unicorns and fairies, then a few more people might also start imagining a world where you didn’t just accept that a self-serving society built upon centuries of imperialism, patriarchy and nepotism is the best we can do.
While volatile magic and impending gang wars lie at the core of this story, finely crafted characters and their relationships take center stage. Williams excels at breathing life into beautifully complex characters, and does so with flair in this book. Hot-headed Kit, always a front woman and always willing to sacrifice for the betterment of her community and those she holds dear to her heart, regardless of the cost. She surrounds herself with a motley crew, including an ambitious assistant editor looking to right the wrongs of Ordshaw and a nervous, lost soul seeking his place and purpose in the world. Old friends, old enemies, new possible threats, and more, Kit brashness doesn’t outwardly provide much for people to respect, but beneath that hard exterior lies someone who truly cares. It’s endearing and you can’t help falling in love with her.
As for the plot, I can’t bring myself to ruin ANYTHING for you. The best part of reading a story by Williams is witnessing everything unwind at its intended pace, with plenty of plot twists thrown into the mix to keep you on your toes. Each chapter of Dyer Street Punk Witches begins with an epigraph, alternating between pieces of Kit’s past and portions of a magical manuscript, everything tying in to what’s to come. I thought this was a brilliant way to add even more depth to an already rich story. I will, however, say…I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING, PHIL. Massive thanks for surprising me yet again!
While this story does take place in the Ordshaw universe, it can absolutely be read as a standalone. With an inventive punky twist on modern witchcraft and suspense that builds up around an unknown threat causing a rift on the streets of the city, Dyer Street Punk Witches was everything I had hoped for and more. Everything just worked, even when I felt it shouldn’t have, hitting me with one surprise after another. This read was a blast, and I would love to revisit in the future. If you’re looking for a different type of witchy read this spooky season, I highly suggest giving this beauty of a book a chance. Loved it.
Note: A huge thank you to the author for an early complementary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Phil Williams writes contemporary fantasy and dystopian fiction and non-fiction grammar guides. His novels include the interconnected Ordshaw urban fantasy thrillers, the post-apocalyptic Estalia saga and the action-packed Faergrowe series. He also runs the website English Lessons Brighton, and writes reference books to help foreign learners master the nuances of English.
Phil lives with his wife by the coast in Sussex, UK, and now spends a great deal of time walking his impossibly fluffy dog, Herbert.