Foreword Reviews

The Pinkerton and the Wizard

Clarion Rating: 5 out of 5

In the compelling time travel fantasy novel The Pinkerton and the Wizard, two men battle their pasts in the hopes of bettering their futures.

In Harvey Hetrick’s thrilling fantasy novel The Pinkerton and the Wizard, a mythological wizard escapes into the nineteenth century and allies himself with a distinguished hired cop.

The evil sorceress Morgana outsmarts Merlin, trapping him and his wife, Gwen, within a secluded grotto. But Merlin has one last trick up his sleeve: time travel. Merlin and Gwen vanish from the twelfth century, following his blood line to Philadelphia in the late 1880s. Upon hiring a room, the two meet another tenant, a famous Pinkerton detective, Adam Blake.

A random lightning strike during a fraught chase leaves Adam on the edge of death. Merlin uses a subtle spell to bring Adam back, entangling them on a psychic level. Adam is none the wiser about his sudden turn of good luck; he returns to the job and tackles a suspenseful case involving a museum heist, counterfeit money, and an alleged means of securing eternal life.

Adam’s dogged pursuit of criminals and protecting the innocent stems from a painful loss: his father was one of the men tasked with defending President Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre on the night when Lincoln was assassinated. Hoping to redeem his father and prove his own worth, Adam throws himself into his job at great detriment to his social life. His connection to Merlin crops up a few times, as when Merlin portends a fatal future and guides Adam, but it’s Adam who most engages attention. Following as he solves crimes and struggles with his new psychic link propels the story onward.

Despite its supernatural trappings and time travel elements, the narrative is better described as a crime drama helmed by an unusual pair. The mystery of the museum heist, and how the counterfeit money ties into it, is compelling; Adam and Merlin team up to solve it. A cadre of relatable villains contrast with heroic Adam, resulting in a high-stakes, good-cop-versus-educated-criminal dynamic.

The story’s pace is steady, even as it jumps between Adam, Merlin, and other characters to fully round out its action and narrative. There’s strong attention to detail around the time travel elements, including to the book’s explanation of why Merlin arrived in Adam’s specific time period, to information about Adam’s dishonored father, and to the mystery that both work to unravel. A handful of scenes step away from the main mystery to focus on characters’ backstories, but without slowing the action down. These cover Merlin’s escape from Morgana and Adam losing a partner while defending a train.

Exchanges between Merlin and Adam simmer with a subtle sense of familiarity. Merlin comes across as a parental figure, and Adam an eager child. As the novel progresses, the two become even more comfortable with each other, leading to more humorous and heartfelt exchanges. Adam’s case wraps up in a heartwarming way, though the book leaves Merlin’s fate in question. It’s not clear if the two will continue solving crimes in later books, or whether Merlin will find his way back to his own time. The ambiguity builds interest in their shared futures.

In the compelling time travel fantasy novel The Pinkerton and the Wizard, two men battle their pasts in the hopes of bettering their futures.

Reviewed by John M. Murray

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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