I don’t know if the black-magic-noir-black-comedy genre was ever a thing but it is now. And that's a lot of black to pack into a single genre. Poison City is the adult fiction debut of my Hodder stablemate Paul Crilley (excluding his graphic fiction) and it’s a cracker. It’s the first in a series of gritty policers set in a contemporary South Africa that's infested with all forms of supernatural being. But nobody knows they're there except the beleaguered Dephic Division – the branch of the South African Police Service charged with keeping them at bay.
Enter Gideon Tau, the hard-living occult detective with a vicious tragedy in his past and a talking dog for a spirit guide. An alcoholic talking dog. Together they need to prevent an ancient demon from setting loose the first sin, before it – but look, you get the gist. What makes this book so special is not the machinations of its eschatological baddies – excellent as these are. It's the fizzy energy, shoot-from-the-hip characters and dark, dark humour that leap out at you from the very first page and punch you in the gut – then cast a binding spell to prevent you putting the book down until you get to the end.
The closest I can get to capturing the book's fizzy bleakness is, imagine the original run of John Constantine: Hellblazer rewritten by Christopher Brookmyre and relocated to Durban. You can't, can you? All right, then: better read Poison City.