Review: Evil Dark by Justin Gustainis

May 8, 2012 Review 6


Evil Dark (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation, #2) Title: Evil Dark
AuthorJustin Gustainis
Series: Occult Crimes Unit Investigation #2
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Excerpt: Yes
Source: Author
Reviewed by: Julia

  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Angry Robot; April 24, 2012
  • ISBN-10: 0857661361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857661364

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Sexual Content:
References to sex, rape, child abuse, and a threesome.


Excellent – Loved it! Buy it now & put this author on your watch list.


My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.

A series of seemingly motiveless murders of supernatural creatures points to a vigilante targeting the supe community. Markowski wouldn’t normally have much of a problem with that, but his daughter may be next on the killer’s list…


Neither as hard-boiled as most police procedurals, nor as arcane as pure urban fantasy, EVIL DARK is a blend that does justice to both genres without taking either too seriously.  The dry police banter, methodical exploration of crimes, and a story and world that were easy to jump into make this a great introduction to the series as well as a satisfying stand alone.

I enjoyed the casual humor and camaraderie between Markowski and Karl. These two swing from good-natured jockeying to bad puns and dirty asides in a way that is authentically masculine.  Their relationship was both entertaining and believable, and I’m looking forward to reading HARD SPELL to see how their partnership began.  Gustainis also made sure that not all supernatural crimes were exotic mysteries.  On the contrary, the “business as usual” nature of arresting an ogre that smashed up a bar and other little details were excellent counterpoints to the complex conspiracy of the main mystery.

Perhaps the most difficult part of any mystery is balancing an ending between surprise and believability, a feat that Gustainis pulls off with flare.  EVIL DARK wraps up with action, a little luck, good police work, and a touch of male fantasy come to life.  I finished the book with a smile and a chuckle, looking forward to my next ride along with Markowski and Karl.

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  • Hard Spell

6 Responses to “Review: Evil Dark by Justin Gustainis”

  1. Kristin

    I wouldn't have thought much about this book from the cover but from your review, I'm going to give it a shot and talk my hubby into trying it 😀 Totally sounds like his thing (Oh for the days of old Harry Dresden, my hubby mutters). Thanks for the heads up!!! Great review!
    -Kristin @myparahangover

  2. Anonymous

    I just finished reading Evil Dark, and liked it even better than Hard Spell. One cautionary note about Hard Spell: Markowski labors under a heavy load of Doom and Gloom in the first book. The tone of his relationships with almost everyone is lighter in Evil Dark.

    But I enjoyed both of the books, and will snatch up the third book whenever it arrives.

    Mickie T

  3. Dana Alma

    Wonderful review! I read Hard Spell and thought is was great! I look forward to reading Evil Dark. Have a great week.

  4. Julia

    I hope he enjoys it! This book also reminded me of DEAD MAN WALKING, though Hessius Mann is a P.I. with a preternatural bent (rather than cop on the supernatural beat).

  5. Julia

    Mickie, thank you very much for the heads up. That will slow me down with reading HARD SPELL, that kind of tone isn't all that appealing to me. I liked Markowski's attitude in EVIL DARK, maybe I'll just keep reading forward.