An indictment for the rape of a thirteen-year-old girl should be enough to end any singer's career. But, when teen-age rock sensation Jeff Christopher is arrested for rape, and a professionally produced video of the act is put up for sale on the Internet, it provokes a series of events quite unlike anything enigmatic private investigator Thomas Gareth had ever expected to see again.
Hired by Christopher's father to locate his son after the boy vanishes, thus forfeiting a half-million dollars in bail, Gareth and his associates are inexorably drawn into the glittering, obscene world of smut punk rock, and its degenerate, satanic star Willie Wicked, whose ascent to power and fame seems irresistible as well as incomprehensible.
From the dark streets of SoHo, to the ISIS strongholds of Europe and Syria, Gareth encounters an army of unholy antagonists who force him to remember his purpose, his status, and, most importantly, his mission. For, the gates of hell are open, ISIS and the Illuminati have made common cause, and popular culture is being co-opted into the service of evil. For Gareth, it is a return to the Great War, and whoever wins, the fight will be merciless and bloody.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ A highly inventive modern novel.
By Josh Machado Halcro, SPR Reviews, April 6, 2018
Format: Paperback/Kindle Edition
In Whither, Willie Wicked? Jan Ewing has produced a terrific piece of work, tackling hard subjects that are both topical and magical, melding the real with the imagined.
The story follows Thomas Llewellyn Gareth, known as Gareth, a private investigator tasked with locating the punk rock star Jeff Christopher after his disappearance in light of a rape accusation. All is not as it may seem, with rumors that Jeff Christopher has turned into someone else, Willie Wicked, and questions arise as to his father’s intentions after Gareth learns Jeff squeezed him out and lost his father a lot of money.
This mission sets off a chain of events that pull the story into the realm of fantasy. The magical elements to the story (are they wizards?) adds a level of intrigue that allows the narrative to twist and turn in strange and wonderful ways without the breaking of one’s suspension of disbelief. Curiously, we are able to imagine this world where the Illuminati and ISIS join forces, but the novel still retains its core believability.
The prose, at times, has the tone of cerebral speculative fiction – philosophical, poetic, knowledgeable. The musings are never frivolous, despite what may be suggested by the premise, as the book asks intriguing questions that are ultimately answered in the story itself. When faced with the reality of the terrible goings-on, Gareth attempts to assign meaning – things can’t happen for nothing, they have to happen for a reason. Death and destruction have a purpose here and the prose is strong enough to deliver an intelligent message with its story, without ever being overwrought.
There is no wasted storytelling here, and characters satisfying evolve as the story progresses. Thomas Gareth is a strong, witty character who in the face of terrible situations always knows how to wriggle free. The two characters that do stand out as needing work are the Chongs. The choice of stilted English vernacular pulls the reader out of the world and draws the focus away from what is being said to how it’s being said.
That’s really a small issue with the overall narrative, which is strong throughout. The main trouble with the book is the title and cover. On first glance, the book presents itself as a children’s book, when really, it is the furthest thing from one. The title as well seems out of place, especially with the use of Whither that conjures images of Victorian tales. The title could have survived with a different cover, but not both. This is a real shame, as this is a highly inventive modern novel with a cover that doesn’t at all reflect what is inside.
In terms of pure storytelling, Whither, Willie Wicked? is a continually surprising read. Those who enjoy a good detective story will find the novel gripping and unique, and the novel will also appeal to fans of magical realism. It’s a tricky blend of genres, but Ewing successfully pulls it off in a novel where turning the page can take you anywhere.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Not your usual private eye or novel.
By Win Gould on August 29, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Extraordinary in its concept - current to events with the witch/wizard/warlock esp with powers private eye adding interest along with the other characters such as Ms. Chong; music, location, and philosophical (serious and whimsical) references and knowledge; plenty of action; insightful; humor; and it flows with good writing. Impressive. Adult language and situations or references - not the usual and not for the faint-hearted, but don't be put off by any of it - just go for it.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Who, How, What! Wow! Where?
By Nan Willow on November 7, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great story by a truly inspired and brilliant author. Whither, Willie Wicked? By Jan Ewing is a gripping story of adventure and discovery. Truly inspired!
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ It's amazing how this story blends fantasy with current events.
By Ryan Sullivan on September 6, 2016
Whither, Willie Wicked? is another impressive work from Jan Ewing, marked by the writer's usual energetic style but also different from his previous books, expanding into the realm of sci-fi and action with incredible results. This novel is wild, imaginative, and full of surprises, taking the reader in unexpected directions at every turn; it's also amazing how the story blends sci-fi with current events and settings, and how easily it can shift from hilarity to horror and back again. It's nearly impossible to stop reading, and to stop thinking about the book once you've finished. Hopefully we'll see more works from this talented writer very soon!