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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Book Review: Where There's a Witch by Madelyn Alt

We are continuing in our October paranormal mysteries to build up to Halloween with this delightful mystery.

Where There's a Witch by Madelyn Alt

This is the fifth in the Bewitching Series with a charming main character named Maggie O'Neill who you could consider an apprentice witch of the Wicca belief system. Maggie is loyal to her friends and tries to be fair and level headed. She is sensible, friendly and a caring person.
"My name is Maggie – Margaret Mary-Catherine O’Neill, actually, but I’m not a formal kind of girl - and one of my personal truths recently discovered is that I am an empath. A bona fide, natural-born intuitive capable of sensing emotion, both past and present, in the air around me. This means that I have a tendency to pick up strong emotional memories that linger near people, places, and things whether those feelings are in the physical world or the world of spirits. Memories perhaps better ignored, or even forgotten. Too bad I didn’t understand all of this sooner. It would have saved me from internalizing a lot of emotional heartache growing up that wasn’t even my own."
I feel this a cozy mystery first with a paranormal angle second. Stony Mill Indiana is the small town setting that in past books has highlighted Amish neighbors and rural farm settings. In this book we have a local church carnival to raise money to expand the church as the setting for a murder. A young girl is found murdered on the church grounds not long after Maggie witnessed the victim in a heated argument with her ex boyfriend. Not long afterwards, Maggie discovers that a spirit from the crime scene has followed her home.

This book has the on going dilemma of Maggie dating a local cop while she is clearly attracted to another man with her same spiritual beliefs. In this installment of the series her relationship with the cop, who seems to try to mold her into what he wants, is clearly at a fork in the road. Will Maggie try to stick it out with Tom or will she give into Marcus' charm and never ending interest in her?
He studied me a long, serious moment, searching my face. His directness had always thrown me for a loop, and this moment was no exception. I lowered my gaze, keeping it focused directly on the ground at his feet, so I knew exactly the moment he took that single questioning step towards me. My breathe caught and I instantly backed away. When he didn’t move again, I was forced to bring my gaze up to look into the all-seeing eyes I had been trying to avoid.
Marcus shook his head again. The smile he wore was just the teensiest bit regretful. “Still scared, Maggie?”

Am I ever. Only of myself, not of you. I shrugged

There’s no need,” he whispered, making sure no one could hear but me. “We’re friends, yes?”

I could barely find my voice. “Always.”
Cozy mysteries tend to have the family ties that can drive the main character nutty and this book has that. Maggie's mother is the guilt-throwing equivalent of Ray Ramono's mother Marie. Maggie's sister is a spoiled gossip queen and completely self-centered. They are used to good effect as part of Maggie's life complications.

The writing is light and carries you along to the point you feel you are a part of Maggie’s life. As a reader, you will start to route for which guy she should go with and how to deal with her mother or sister.

The mystery takes awhile to warm up through the church carnival, but quickly picks up from there. The climax to the book is nicely done and on par for a cozy. If there were any elements to the book that I would like to see changed it would be that Maggie’s dad and grandfather became a more positive and important characters to balance the mother and sister. Dad and granddad seem under-utilized.

Madelyn Alt weaves an entire experience that draws you in and you don’t want to leave. Where There’s a Witch is a pleasant cozy with great romantic tension, adequate mystery, a sprinkling of tense climax that leaves you wanting another Maggie adventure. Next book in the series is due to be released on April 6, 2010 titled A Witch In Time.

Obtained book through: Personal Purchase

For your convenience, you may purchase this book here.

Be sure to check back in with us next Monday for a give away!!!

Part of the Book Blog Carnival
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April said...

What a great post! I have the first in this series and have been dying to get to it! It just sounds so much fun. I am going to take a month and just dive into my pile of cozy mysteries and lose myself in the pleasure of them!!!

A.F. Heart said...

Thank you for the comment. I agree that this is a wonderful cozy mystery series and I love how the reader becomes a part of Maggie's life. You become vested in her happiness. That is a good book!

I am so glad you are enjoying the blog and the books :-)

AF Heart

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