Waking the Witch
This is the 11th entry in the author’s Otherworld series, and brings a new narrator, Savannah Levine, to the table. This is my first book in the series and it worked well for me as a standalone, although I may have missed nuances that will be meaningful to regular series readers. The book is filled with interesting characters and the plot held my attention.
Twenty-one year old Savannah Levine has been left in charge of the family detective agency while her adopted parents are on vacation; or perhaps I should say Savannah believes she’s in charge. It’s not clear that anyone else feels she should be running things. The daughter of a dark witch and a sorcerer, this six-foot tall, motor-cycle riding witch feels fully capable of handling any investigation that should come along.
Savannah is hired by another supernatural investigator to check into the murders of three young women in a small, dying town. The local police aren’t making headway and there are signs that dark magic may be involved. Savannah lets Adam, one of her associates currently attending a conference, know where she’s going, and then heads to the town to investigate.
The author creates a vivid image of the small town, from the incompetent, red-neck cops, the diner where the locals hang out, to boarded-up houses. There’s a lot going on in the town, including a commune with one older man and lots of young women, and signs of Druid and Santeria rituals.
The town has a number of interesting residents, but my favorite, bar none, is Kayla, the young daughter of one of the victims. Armed with a junior detective kit, Kayla is determined to solve her mother’s murder. I enjoyed Savannah’s interactions with Kayla; often awkward, they felt completely natural to me.
I suspect some long-time Otherworld readers may be frustrated by Savannah’s current relationship-status. She’s been in love with Adam since she was twelve. She hoped they could eventually become lovers, but Adam treats her as a pal and co-worker. Because I haven’t read the rest of the series, I’m not invested in their relationship, and wasn’t bothered by their current status.
From looking at reviews of earlier Otherworld books, I can see that many characters have appeared before, including Savannah, and her adopted parents Paige and Lucas. The latter two aren’t featured here other than via telephone, but Savannah thinks of them often, reflecting on advice they’d give her.
If you need a book with a happy ending, this isn’t for you. And if you like things wrapped up neatly, this definitely isn’t for you, as it features a huge cliff-hanger ending. According to the author’s Web site, Savannah will be the narrator for the next two books. I hope we’ll get more answers later.
The last few chapters were a bit flat for me, and I found the resolution of the murders less interesting than the rest of the book. Despite these problems, I enjoyed the book, and found the heroine engaging and realistic…well, as realistic as a witch with multiple spells can be. I will definitely check out the next in the series.