REVIEW: Dyer Street Punk Witches by Phil Williams

Dyer Street Punk Witches by Phil Williams is an urban fantasy thriller featuring a trio of punk rock musicians led by the vodka-swigging social activist Kit “Fadulous” Hamley on bass, together with the quiet genius Clover on lead guitar and their friend “Big” Mad on drums. The trio live on Dyer Street, the most dangerous street in the city of Ordshaw. Kit is a rather intimidating figure, admired by some and feared by others as she fights to bring peace, justice, and accountability to a region overrun by gang warfare.

Dyre City Punk WitchesIn addition to leading their punk band, Dyre Grrls, Kit serves as chief editor and publisher of a local magazine that makes a business of upsetting powerful people. Their basic tenets, as enumerating by Kit, include “challenging the establishment, defending freedom of expression, fighting for equal rights, defeating all forms of bigotry, rejecting the mainstream.”

The other lead protagonist of Dyer Street Punk Witches is Aaron, a young man whose book smarts outweigh his street smarts by a considerable margin. Kit had previously saved Aaron’s life, coming to his rescue during a violent mugging. Aaron returns to Dyer Street to face his fears and come to peace with that traumatizing (and somewhat embarrassing) event.

Aaron also suspects that Kit may have tapped into some supernatural powers to aid in his rescue. He decides that the best way to learn more about his savior and, perhaps, overcome his own self-doubt, would be to volunteer for Kit’s magazine. She immediately puts her new volunteer to work, pushing him out of his comfort zone.

Dyer Street Punk Witches bounces between the present-day narrative and a backstory that occurs mostly in the 1990s. The notorious Saxon gang from the 1990s is making a return in the present day, bringing some frightening new powers.

The worldbuilding in Dyer Street Punk Witches is outstanding, with just the right amount of occultist magic to balance the realistic street grit that sets the backdrop for the novel. I especially enjoyed the social justice aspects of the story, as well as the plentiful punk rock references. Any book that name-drops Sleater-Kinney automatically gets bonus points from this reviewer.

My only minor complaint is that Dyer Street Punk Witches finishes too quickly. A sizeable fraction of the book is spent on exposition, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but I wanted a greater buildup in action during the second half of the book. I would have happily devoured another 100 pages of action before letting this story go.

Altogether, Dyer Street Punk Witches brilliantly captures the feminist riot grrl spirit in a dark urban fantasy setting. I hope Phil Williams will share more stories with these characters in the future.

Read Dyer Street Punk Witches by Phil Williams

Buy this book on Amazon

Share this
John Mauro

John Mauro

John Mauro lives in a world of glass amongst the hills of central Pennsylvania. When not indulging in his passion for literature or enjoying time with family, John is training the next generation of materials scientists at Penn State University, where he teaches glass science and materials kinetics. John also loves cooking international cuisine and kayaking the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York.