Imagine a book series with a broody Harry Dresden–like character roaming around Minneapolis and blending in with various supernatural creatures. Minnesota writer Joseph Weinberg has achieved this task by creating a story that’s refreshing and thrilling in Pipe and Pestle, the first of a series.
Protagonist Sam Archer is employed at his mythical store, the Swain Paige, when the beautiful Ella Saint Claire stops by. She is interested in purchasing a very specific artifact from and wants Sam to purchase it for her. But when he later goes to Ella’s hotel room to meet her, he learns she has been brutally murdered, and all suspicion for the crime falls on Sam. He needs to prove his innocence and find the artifact—all while harboring a demon on his back.
Stacy is a mischievous demon who rides along on Sam until the murder is solved. She can’t control him, but she can talk to him, and he hears her words in his head. Stacy also loves pancakes, cranberry juice, tobacco, and pressuring Sam to get shot because she wants to experience the pain. Stacy is my favorite character because of her personality and her wit. She teaches Sam how to develop a relationship with a demon and to learn more about the supernatural underworld in Minneapolis. Stacy is a character every reader will enjoy, and I look forward to seeing her pop up in subsequent novels.
My favorite part of this book is when Sam visits the Albino, a powerful psychic wizard who is deeply involved with organized crime. He hides away in his club, named Frank’s Wild Years, which I imagined while reading this book was located somewhere near Uptown, though it’s not actually mentioned where in Minneapolis it’s located. I won’t give away too much about this creepy character, but I’m hopeful that the Albino will play a bigger role in future books.
Pipe and Pestle is a great first installment in a fresh fantasy series and the perfect novel for Harry Dresden fans who are looking for something more local. It’s available on Amazon in paperback and ebook format.