"You know there's no such things as ghosts!" ~ Opening of Samhain Secrets
Crime Fiction (Cozy/Paranormal); 352 pgs
Source: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley
While each of the books in the series can be read by themselves and out of order for the main mystery's sake, there are overreaching themes that might be better followed if the series is read in order. One of those themes comes together in this fourth book of the Wiccan Wheel Mysteries, featuring vegan Family Law Attorney Keli Milanni. Keli has made junior partner in her law firm, but is still trying to find her place there. She is always on the go, busy as ever, and having a hard time juggling her work and personal life. She even feels out of sorts when it comes to her spiritual life. And now the body in the morgue belongs to her long lost aunt, who she has always looked up and admired but knew so little about.
For all Keli’s belief in spells and witchcraft, she doesn’t put much stock into the existence of ghosts. One of her clients swears her house is haunted, and Keli points to every rational reason to explain away the occurrences the woman is experiencing, including rescuing a stray cat living in the woman’s basement. Keli herself is beginning to experience some unexplained phenomena, and begins to question her own thoughts on the matter. Is her Aunt Josephine trying to send her a message? Could her aunt be helping her find the clues that will lead to the murderer? And perhaps this will reveal some of Josephine’s secrets from the past. As an environmental activist, she has lived off the grid for quite some time and even her closest friends know little about her.
Seemingly small pieces of the puzzle from earlier books in the series begin to fit together in a more cohesive story about just who Aunt Josephine was. The reader does not need to read the previous books to get the full picture as the author does a good job of laying it all out in this book. Still, it was nice to be able to read about it from the beginning.
I liked Keli from the start, but she feels more like an old friend now. She has a good heart and a good moral compass. I continue to adore Mila, Keli’s friend and fellow Wiccan. It is through her, Keli is learning that she does not have to walk the Wiccan path alone. Crenshaw, the other junior partner in the law firm Keli works for began as someone I would want to avoid, but, I swear, he surprises me every book and I warmed even more toward him in this one. For someone so stuffy and seemingly critical, he really steps up to the plate when needed.
This series has continued to get better with each book, and this one is no different. I still find myself wanting to shake some sense into Keli at times—will she ever learn not to walk (or climb) into dangerous situations, especially without back-up? Probably not. I can live with that.
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