Featured in F&SF – review by Charles de Lint!

An Unexpected Review

As followers of my blog will know, I’ve given up on soliciting reviews.

When I took that decision, I guessed at some future stage, I might timorously approach some erudite maven of the Urban Fantasy realm, and see if my luck had changed. I dreaded the moment. Little good and much angst has come from this!

Unsolicited reviews, however, are my joy. Thank you, all of you, for all of the positive or constructive things you’ve said to me.

The reviewing area I haven’t looked at is ‘professional’ reviews. Reviews that are done by people who get paid to do reviews. These people (I’ve always thought) are generally clogged up with publisher’s books and wouldn’t look at an indie.

Hmm. Maybe I was wrong.

Do you know Charles de Lint? If you don’t, you should. There are maybe a half dozen people who you can point to and say ‘that person is one of the godparents of Urban Fantasy’. Charles de Lint is one. His fiction in the 80s and 90s brought the paranormal into contact with modern, everyday life and spawned this genre which we enjoy so much. His style, especially in his short stories, can be described as lyrical magic realism. He’s one of my writing heroes.

Charles de Lint continues to write, but his other occupation is a professional reviewer for the Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine. F&SF is one of the major magazines in the sector, established in 1949 and re-inventing itself to track emerging media and help shape the culture and awareness of the genres it covers.

So…it was with considerable trepidation I saw the email from the magazine saying that Charles had reviewed Bite Back; both print book versions of Sleight of Hand and Hidden Trump. OMG.

I didn’t approach the magazine for a review, and hadn’t provided the books to them.

The full text of the review appears in the July issue. You can read it on the website:


Scroll down a couple of screens.

Please visit the site and read the full review, but I just have to share the closing comments…

“If you don’t like these books, you probably shouldn’t be reading urban fantasy, because they represent some of the best the field has to offer. I still can’t quite put my finger on how Henwick has made the tropes feel so fresh. I’m just glad he has.”


About Mark Henwick

I was born in Africa and left out in the sun too often. An early interest in philosophy and psychology was adequately exorcised by tending bars. And while trying to enroll in a class to read Science Fiction full time, I ended up taking an engineering degree which splendidly qualified me to move into marketing. That in turn spawned a late onset career in creative writing. When not working, I get high by the slightly less conventional means of a small light aircraft. My first books are available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Henwick/e/B008SBO5YK/

11 responses to “Featured in F&SF – review by Charles de Lint!”

  1. Sharon Sayegh says :

    OMG, Charles de Lint (!!) gave you a SUPER GOOD review! Kudos to you, Mark!! :o)

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you Sharon.
      I am stunned. I have always felt so lucky, and I feel it here again; given the thousands of books out there, one of my writing heroes happened to stumble across mine and liked them! Wow. Pinching myself.

  2. John Parrish says :

    And well deserved! 🙂 Just re-read them after reading Raw Deal and enjoyed them as much the 2nd time round (or maybe the 3rd…)

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Thank you John.
      I’m glad to hear there is all this revising going on – Wild Card is complex. You’ll need to remember lots to follow all the threads.

  3. soireadthisbooktoday says :

    I am SOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!! Charles de Lint is my SUPER HERO. May I post this to my site? Would love to brag that I know you! 🙂

  4. soireadthisbooktoday says :

    Reblogged this on So, I Read This Book Today . . . and commented:
    See, I have always told you that Mark is amazing! And even Charles de Lint thinks so!!!

  5. richard says :

    I had to look up the work tropes……. your character development is the secret ingredient. I totally agree with him about the pacing, the flow is great. Soon other authors will be copying your writing style.

    • Mark Henwick says :

      Ah yes, a very ‘writerly’ word, tropes. Newbies in genre writing are always warned to ‘not trip up on the tropes’ – don’t include too many stereotypical characters and situations that are prevalent or iconic for the genre you are writing. Of course, not too few, either. My opinion after 2.5 books, is that what matters is the way you use them, not the tropes themselves.
      As for people copying the style – I’m put in mind of a writer who was amazed to discover his light entertainment books were being studied in English classes. It gave him writer’s block! (No chance of that here; not that sensitive, me)

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