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Monday, November 3, 2008

Review: Murder at Witch's Bluff

Review: Murder at Witch's Bluff
By Silver Ravenwolf

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; 1st edition (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1567187277
  • ISBN-13: 978-1567187274

True to its title, Murder at Witch's Bluff has it all, murder, mystery, magick, and even a little romance. As someone who once enjoyed Silver Ravenwolf's non-fictional material as well as her previous book Beneath a Mountain Moon, I was very interested in reading more of her fiction that wasn't geared specifically towards the teenage market.

In this book, Silver has defiantly captured the feel of small town America with all its vices and virtues. The characters, for the most part, are well thought out with a few exceptions. The central character, Siren McKay, is portrayed as a very strong willed woman even in the face of the terrible violence that she was exposed to, and the victim of, in a relatively short amount of time. I absolutely loved the character of Nana Loretta, and the descriptions of her magickal practices were an added bonus. I also felt that Tanner's struggle with attempting to find if magick and witchcraft had a place in his life is also one that many of us have also struggled with ourselves. I also liked that fact that this book portrayed a gay character (Lexi) who wasn't too stereotypical. Although her part was relatively small, Gemma was completely psychotic as any murderous villain. Though he starts out as a very unsympathetic character, Uncle Jess become more endearing as the author peels back the layers to reveal the man behind all the gruff. Other than Siren herself, I felt as though Serato, was one of the most interesting of characters in the book. At times it almost felt as if he was a narrator, as his observations of the other characters in the book were so accurate and greatly helped to move the story along.

I failed to comprehend the exact purpose for the character of Rachael in the story. It seems that the author either had planned to do more with her and decided not to do so, or that she was always intended to be a throw-away character for the purpose of adding to the list of suspects. I also would have liked at least one scene depicting Siren applying her trade as a hypnotherapist.

Overall the plot was well conceived if not original, although I have to admit that the story did not unfold in the direction that I had previously thought it would. Although there were a few continuity errors and more than a few typos, it did not detract from the over all story itself in my opinion. The mysterious in this novel are numerous, although some will not be as mysterious as others to the observant reader. The pacing is fast throughout the book with virtually no slow spots. Fellow crafters will enjoy the inclusion of descriptions of actual spells and ritual, as well as the inclusion of actual Wiccan poetry that has been found in non-fiction works.

I was a bit disappointed with the fact that the author chose not to include a scene in which the characters who were either absent or unconscious at the book's climax were told the truth about the novel's central mystery and how they dealt with this information; instead the reader is left to infer for himself how they reacted. Although the final scene wraps up all but a few loose ends, they seemed to be inconsequential in the face of what actually transpired.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I felt that the bad far outweighed the good and would recommend Murder at Witch's Bluff to anyone interested in magickal fiction, or just anyone who loves a good story!

Carolina Dean

Magic in the Media
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