As much as I love occulty books, it is actually quite difficult for me to find magickal fiction that I really, truly dig. I want my stories to not only be well-researched, but also well-written and enjoyable to read. In a market now bloated with fantastical tales, there is not much out there that actually connects to me. Throwing in a fortune teller or a witch character or a random monster in your novel is not enough to satisfy this lady. Spells and neo-fairy tale tropes are attractive ideas and all, but they're cloying when utilized as stylistic choices or thin metaphors, rather than vehicles for actual information or insight.
I like to keep this site a space for positivity so I won't mention its title, but I recall recently reading a best-selling witchy book and literally flinging it across the room when the promising esoteric premise devolved into a trashy historical romance novel. I don't mind that people want to read about copulating wyrdlings (I mean, who doesn't?), but that alone is not enough to make me stick to a story. I also want great language and a sense that the author has done their homework. What can I say, I'm picky.
So it's with delight and relief that I can now report that I adored "Last Call" by Tim Powers, a book that came out in 1992, and which I've only just read despite meaning to for at least a decade. It's a gritty, seedy noir about Vegas, gambling, divination, and retribution. It is loaded with tarot imagery and history, it has mythological beings, and Powers actually seems to know what he's talking about when he writes about them all. The story is exciting and emotional and beautifully written, the characters are memorable, and it is literary and fun as hell at the same time. I highly recommend it. (And I invite your recommendations in turn, if I haven't scared you off in my preamble!)