Samantha Ryan is plagued by nightmares. Horrific memories lay in wait; of dark magic and crippling fear, of strange creatures and blood soaked walls. Because Samantha grew up in a witches’ coven, enslaved by power and greed. But now Samantha must go undercover to confront the horror of her terrible past, and protect her hometown against a newly awakened heart of evil.

Debbie Viguie’s new Witch Hunt series introduces readers to Samantha Ryan, a Boston police detective with a unique and quite dangerous past. Raised within the confines of an evil coven in Salem, Samantha is imbued with the dark powers of witchcraft passed down through generations of her family but having escaped the torment of her childhood physically,  the deep mental scars remain with her. So, when a number of bodies appear marked with the points of a pentagram Samantha is called upon to go undercover back in Salem to root out the perpetrators of these evil deeds and to rekindle her powers of witchcraft to foil a dastardly plot of raising a dead witch. There’s also a slightly ludricous plotline involving a virus which makes members of the public see witches everywhere causing them to randomly attack other people and an obligatory romantic subplot where Samantha is drawn to the debonair owner of a witchcraft museum whose mother was murdered by the coven that Samantha grew up in. Yes…I know…

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found the whole book quite unbalanced with the witchcraft storyline holding the majority of my interest throughout and being quite well written but I felt the whole thing was a little out of kilter. It was if Viguie had to keep reminding herself to juggle the demands of the horror, police procedural,  and romance genres with the latter two elements feeling slightly crow-barred in at times to disrupt the fairly strong central plot. Samantha was a likeable enough character but seemed too participate in far too much naval gazing about her predicament instead of steeling herself to the task in hand and concentrate on thwarting the raising of the scaberous witch Abigail and at some points I just wanted to give her a bit of shake. However, I did enjoy the portrayal of the rites and rituals within the coven and how readily people could be manipulated into behaving in a certain way. A goodly amount of bloodshed too which is always a bonus…

So to sum up I would say that this was quite a nippy little read for me and good for getting in the mood for Halloween but the cross genre balance was a little off which marred my overall enjoyment of the book. Shame…

‘The 13th Sacrifice’ to be published October 25th Arrow Books

Visit the author’s website here: http://debbieviguie.com/

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