My novels Hard Spell and Evil Dark (as well as the forthcoming Known Devil) are set in an alternate universe where the supernatural exists and is out in the open. But like every other human activity, the actions of supernatural creatures are subject to the rule of law. That’s true everywhere in this imagined world, including my fictional version of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Stan Markowski, the protagonist and narrator, is a Detective Sergeant on the Scranton P.D.’s Occult Crimes Unit. He describes his job this way: “When a vamp puts the bite on an unwilling victim, or some witch casts the wrong kind of spell, that’s when they call me. My name’s Markowski. I carry a badge.”
Although most human laws apply to supernatural creatures (speeding is speeding, after all – whether you do it with a Ford Mustang or a broom), some parts of the penal code are specifically designed with “supes” in mind. Here’s a sample:
Vampires. As you might gather from Stan’s words above, it’s legal for a vampire to take blood from a human, as long as consent is freely given (no use of vampiric influence to weaken the will). There are no documents to sign, but if someone files a complaint charging unlawful blood harvesting, then the vampire so accused will have to answer the accusation in court. On the other hand, making someone into a vampire does require signing of official documents in advance. “Turning” someone without filing the paperwork can get a vampire into serious trouble. In some jurisdictions (though not in Scranton), it’s even considered murder, because the victim has to die for the transformation to work.
Werewolves. Everybody knows that during the time of the full moon, werewolves lack the self-control that they usually exhibit the rest of the time. However, that doesn’t mean a werewolf can just commit mayhem and get away with it. Werewolves are expected to take reasonable precautions to be confined, or at least closely supervised, while in their more primal state. And although a werewolf who commits a crime while under lunar influence can plead “diminished capacity,” he or she has to show that due diligence was exercised prior to the unfortunate accident, in an attempt to avoid bloodshed.
Magic. There are two kinds of magic recognized by law: white and black. The former derives its power from the Earth and nature; the latter gets its mojo from the infernal side. The practice of black magic is against the law under all circumstances. Lay a curse on someone, and it’s considered felony assault. If the victim dies, the witch or wizard is facing a murder rap. White magic is legal, however, because it is self-limiting. This form of magic cannot be used to do harm to innocent parties, nor can the practitioner employ it for his or her own direct benefit (otherwise, witches would be winning the lottery every day). However, you still need a license to practice white magic, and getting one requires completion of a rigorous training program.
Demons. The conjuring of demons is a serious matter, and is never permitted under the law. This is partly because of the danger posed to public safety if the damn thing (so to speak) gets free of the protective pentagram confining it. The other reason it’s illegal is that demons are invariably summoned to commit some kind of mayhem. Nobody calls up a creature from the depths of Hell and orders it to mow his lawn – although he might tell it to mow down his neighbors.
Those are some of the issues that occult crime cops like Stan Markowski have to deal with every day – and especially every night. For Stan and the other cops of the Occult Crime Unit, some nights are worse than others.
Want more? The books are Hard Spell and Evil Dark, available online and in fine bookstores (even some mediocre ones) everywhere.
See you in Scranton – “haunted Scranton,” that is.
More info about Justin Gustainis.
Evil Dark by Justin Gustainis
Book 2 of the Occult Crimes Unit Investigation series
About Evil Dark:
My name's Markowski. I carry a badge. Also, a crucifix, some wooden stakes, a big vial of holy water, and a 9mm Beretta loaded with silver bullets.Source: Info in the About Evil Dark was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11500077-evil-dark on 19/04/2012.
A series of seemingly motiveless murders of supernatural creatures points to a vigilante targeting the supe community. Markowski wouldn't normally have much of a problem with that, but his daughter may be next on the killer's list...