Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Demons of Wall Street (Nora Simeon Investigations #1) by Laurence Raphael Brothers

Welcome to the 1-Week Virtual Book Tour for The Demons of Wall Street (Nora Simeon Investigations #1), an Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Novella by Laurence Raphael Brothers.

About the Book:

Nora Simeon hates demons.

But as an investigator for the secretive Commission, the organization that regulates financial sorcery in New York City, she deals with the creatures a lot more than she'd like. Her latest case has her on the track of a rogue demon, escaped from magical bondage as an analyst for a leading investment bank.

On the demon's trail, Nora crosses paths with a beautiful young man named Eyre. He's too pretty and complaisant to be human, and too kind to be a demon in human form, but what else could he be? Together they become embroiled in the secret corruption at the heart of the financial industry. But before Nora can untangle a twisted skein of sorcerous murder and intrigue, she has to untangle her feelings for Eyre. And before she can do that, she has to find out who and what he really is.

Publisher Website:  

Purchase Links:

Amazon e-book
Amazon paperback

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Meet the Author:

Laurence Raphael Brothers is a writer and a technologist. He has published over 25 short stories in such magazines as Nature, the New Haven Review, PodCastle, and Galaxy's Edge. His WWI-era historical fantasy novel Twilight Patrol was just released by Alban Lake. For more of his stories, visit, or follow him on twitter: @lbrothers.

Guest Post
Social Justice in the Demons of Wall Street
Blog post by Laurence Raphael Brothers

In my romantic-noir urban fantasy novella The Demons of Wall Street, you can almost tell from the title what I think about late-stage capitalism. The average demon is bad news, to be sure. They’re cannibalistic creatures from an appalling realm of existence where no laws protect the weak and where survival is only possible for those willing to submit themselves to absolute domination by the powerful. A foolish sorcerer who summons a low-level demon without binding it is liable to be torn limb from limb. But even the worst demon isn’t as bad as the monstrous human bankers depicted in the story.
I have to concede that in our world there are probably not that many sorcerers* among the elite masters of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, or Citibank; rather than being summoned from an infernal plane, their analysts graduate the Ivy League and are awarded lucrative salaries, and though they’re locked into contracts and non-disclosure agreements, these are hardly as constraining as the spells used to summon and bind demon analysts in the novella. I’m sure most bankers don’t think of themselves as agents of evil, rather, they must imagine their work is essential to the functioning of the complex engine of international trade. And yet a casual move by an investment banker that makes billions for the bank and wins the lucky executive a bonanza in bonuses can ruin the lives of millions at home and abroad. Some politicians may believe they ordain the course of the world, but their actions are constrained by the not-so-invisible strings of their party’s financial backers. There are no effective checks and balances on the deeds of the ultra-rich; it’s only when they offend against their peers that they are ever called to account.
The problem with corporate capitalism, though, is that it kind of works. Attempts to disrupt the status quo have been futile thus far, because the prospective damage that radical change portends to the commonwealth, including the working class, is so great that most people shy away from the commitment and sacrifice required to tear down the existing system. And maybe the proposed replacement, whatever it may be — democratic socialism, real socialism, full-on communism, or what have you — wouldn’t be as efficient or as benevolent as hoped in any event.
Ethical sorcerers (the few of them who exist) face a similar dilemma in the world of the novella. The whole apparatus of sorcery is erected on the basis of secrecy. If everyone were allowed to learn the principles of magic, if the reality of the existence of demons was revealed, who knows what chaos would ensue. And yet sorcery is used almost exclusively to increase the wealth and power of the ruling class. People like Nora, on the fringes of the magical establishment, are quite aware how horrible the system is. Even her mother Madame Villiers understands this. But to those few members of the establishment who care about such things, the world is too fragile to attempt to rectify these injustices, and the horrible thing is they might just be right about that.
This first volume of Nora Simeon’s adventures with Eyre exposes some of these issues, but really it’s a fantastic and mysterious adventure first, a romance second, and social commentary is pretty far down on the list. But as the series develops, look for questions of social and economic justice to continue to arise, as well as the thorny question of what to do about these damnable demons.

* Though I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there were a few. Ceremonial sorcery in the western tradition has been an active if generally covert hobbyist pastime ever since the 15th century, and despite the lack of actual magical results, there are always plenty of believers, even among the highly educated. Just google OTO, for example, if you don’t believe me, or look up the life of Aleister Crowley in Wikipedia, paying attention to his occultist heirs and what became of his teachings.

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