Dog Days is the story of a boy and his dog... well, not really, because Mason isn't a boy, and Louie isn't really a dog. Mason is a practitioner, one of those with magical ability. Louie is an Ifrit, which we'd probably equate to the term familiar. No one really knows for sure where the Ifrits come from or why, or to who when, they just appear and stick around. Sometimes they disappear, and that too has no real explanation. Mason is making his living as a jazz musician, picking up gigs here and there, not really staying with any one group, and is well known for his ability to improvise. That seems to be the case in his magic as well, the ability to take elements from the things around him to create the effect he needs on the spot.
Life is going okay, he gets by, he has Louie, and while things aren't as great as they could be, Mason is fairly content. Until weird unexplainable and dangerous things start happening to him. He has to turn to past friends (and not such friends) for help on this one, as the events are getting beyond his ability to deal with. Someone wants to be rid of him, but why? The mystery seems to revolve around a type of gem that Mason discovers while trapped in one of these situations. It's unlike anything he's ever seen before. Add to that the sudden increase in power of a previously unimpressive practitioner, Christoph, and there seems to be a full on emergency going on that Mason, Eli his mentor, and Victor (the not such a friend, but definitely someone to have on your side in this case) must get to the bottom of, and quickly. Then one on top of it all, Louie disappears... but that's just the way it goes sometimes... or is it?
This was an interesting beginning to a series, and I'm looking forward to more. I like the way he describes Mason's abilities when he needs to use power for something, and he draws energy from sometimes every day objects around him to get the effect he needs. Mason is a likeable character, basically a live and let live type of guy, sometimes hotheaded, sometimes not the most observant, and has a self-deprecating humor. Poor Louie got the lion's share of the trouble in this one! Poor little guy was getting it every time he turned around! I think I would recommend it to those who are into the urban fantasy/detective/mysteries with just a smidgen of horror. I'm liking this type a lot and am always on the lookout for more.
The next book in the series, New Tricks is due out in November, and on his website Mr. Levitt says that Ace has signed him to do two more after that, so it looks like we have a few more adventures of Mason and Lou to check out!
See John Levitt's Website for more information.