A Sip of Fear, by Brian Rush, is a sort of contemporary urban fantasy set on the streets of Seattle. The year is deliberately unspecified, but you can easily imagine the events playing out today anywhere in the world. Having briefly lived in Seattle, part of the charm for me was the occasional sense of recognition of the places visited.
However, the appeal of the book goes well beyond that. A Sip of Fear explores issues of spirituality and humanity, life and death, good and evil, and how these motivate men and women in rather different ways. Readers of Brian's blog will not be surprised, since these are matters he likes to explore. So there are occasional magical conflicts, but these are brief, and secondary to the main theme - human growth and development, on both the personal and collective fronts.
Brian's writing encourages readers to grapple with deep issues for themselves, and successfully avoids speculating about the ultimate nature of the world. The book, and the characters, remain agnostic as to whether there is a Supreme Light beyond the lights they follow. Instead, they are concerned with the next step along the way, and the human frailties which help or hinder that. The strength of their moral compass - or its absence - is crucial to the quest. Personal, intimate relationships are neither dismissed nor idealised, but are celebrated as expressions of life.
Despite the use of magic, and the purposeful commitment to a life of spirituality, those factors ensure that A Sip of Fear remains an "everyman" book, and it remains easy to identify with the characters throughout. I found it all too easy to go around multi-cultural London as I read the story, wondering who was walking the city streets beside me and simultaneously committed to their personal quest of devotion.
In short, Brian has created a vivid and credible world, with characters you would be delighted to meet - well, most of them... If you like books which provoke challenging thoughts rather than resting on undiluted action, A Sip of Fear could be for you.
Check out http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sip-Fear-Illuminated-Book-ebook/dp/B010WIB3LO or other international Amazon sites.