Author: Juliet Blackwell
This week's book review is of the newest book in a series I have followed since it first began. Here are the reviews of the prior books in the Witchcraft series: Hexes and Hemlines #3 (click here), A Cast-Off Coven #2 (click here), and Secondhand Spirits #1 (click here). I also interviewed Ms. Blackwell (click here). Let's see how this new book rates in this great seasonal read.
Copyright: July 2012 (Signet) 336 pgs
Series: 4th in A Witchcraft Mystery
Sensuality: mild heat
Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy
Main Character: Lily Ivory, hereditary witch
Setting: Modern day, San Francisco
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
Lily gets to attend an Art Deco fancy ball, but the evening barely gets underway when a women falls ill in the ladies room. Lily is convinced it is a hex on the corsage as Miriam slips into a coma right there in the bathroom. Lily just has to help, who else is going to know a "Sleeping Beauty" curse and how to deal with it? Additionally, Inspector Carlos Romaro has asked Lily to help him investigate Tarra Dark Moon's death since her coven members aren't opening up to him. Lily realizes that Miriam and Tarra belonged to the same coven and suspects the two instances could be related. As if this weren't enough, there is a group calling themselves the "Defenders of Morality" vandalizing anybody's business involved in pagan spirituality, and Lily could be a prime target.
Lily is a great character, a powerful witch who doesn't know her own strength, has low self-esteem, and is finally developing friendships for the first time in her life. Her familar, Oscar, a Gargoyle-Goblin mix, who appears as a pot-bellied pig when other people are around, is the comic relief with mixed loyalties. Aidan continues to be a shady character that Lily can't really trust since he is involved in the cases but won't explain how. Sailor is back in this book and major developments between Lily and Sailor occur since he must help her to save Miriam.
San Francisco is always a great setting in this series, providing a cosmopolitan panorama with a variety of interesting locals to utilize. The plot was well developed, sending Lily and the reader following a few red herrings. The motivations of the Miriam/Tarra cases are murky enough to keep the reader guessing through the investigating. The confrontation with the killer is great magickal suspense. The wrap up is bittersweet and leaves the reader with a bit of a cliffhanger to ensure eager anticipation of the next book. It can't come soon enough!
This is another rock solid entry in the series that seems to keep getting better with each book. The secrecy surrounding Aidan and Sailor have revealing tidbits in each entry providing a tantalizing thread through the books. Great addictive story telling.
Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list
Here is a video interview with Juliet Blackwell when she was writing the second book in the series.