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Meows, Magic & Murder (Lake Forest Witches) (Volume 1) Paperback – January 24, 2015
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The POSITIVES - Madison Johns has a good sense of humor and writes her older characters well. She has good pacing and keeps the story moving along. No lulls and dulls here, so it is a quick read. She does throw enough red herrings at you to keep things meshed up pretty good, so unless you just plain ol' "guess" who did it, the final reveal isn't obvious. That's really about it for the positives (at least for me).
The NEGATIVES - The writing style and characters are a bit juvenile. There is a lot of repetition. The reader is constantly reminded of how she doesn't want anyone in town to think she is an actual witch, also of the fact that she turned a man she dated into a cat by mistake (you are reminded of this plot point every single chapter...ugh). The killer is known as the "Knitting Needle Killer", therefore, the sheriff is looking for a person who knits. But why? Just because knitting needles were used as the weapon doesn't necessarily follow that the killer is an obvious knitter...lol. In fact, that would be too obvious. That's like saying that since a killer uses a butcher knife in his killings, he MUST be a butcher. I felt that line of reasoning was absurd. The main character, Petunia, thinks, acts, and speaks like someone 30 years her senior. I felt like I was following the exploits of a 60-something person rather than the younger woman she is painted to be. Petunia never really solves the mystery. She just kind of blunders into a bad situation at the end, and I felt the murderer was much too forthcoming with their guilt. "Yes, it was me." - "Oh, so you DID murder them!" LOL - not convincing. And, of course, the murderer just happens to be standing within striking distance of Petunia when she makes her move. The entire climactic ending deflated fast. Unbelievable, even though, yes...this is fiction.
There ... I managed to state my opinion without giving away the killer. However, I was very disappointed in this book. I will be unlikely to read another one from Madison Johns.
Our story takes place in Lake Forest, Michigan. It's small town U S A where you can walk down the street and greet everyone by name. Our protagonist is Petunia Patterson, a pretty young woman, who gets herself involved in things that often spiral out of control. Noah, her new neighbor, is at her door asking if she can come over and get her cat out of his house. As they're walking toward Noah's house, they discover a body by Noah's fence. He calls 911 and Sheriff Pinkerton pulls up moments later. He immediately begins questioning Petunia and suddenly she's the prime suspect in a series of murders.
The characters in this book are unique and all have interesting back stories. Cora the neighborhood busybody keeps herself amused by trying to know everyone else's business. She believes Petunia is a witch and starts a petition trying to force her out of the neighborhood. Petunia denies being a witch and says she just makes potions and salves. Wait until you meet Lucy, she's a hoot. And then there's Jeremy who was dating Petunia until she gave him what she thought was a love potion. Jeremy is now a cat who lives with Petunia.
I enjoyed this book and gave it four stars because it held my interest and kept me guessing about the identity of the killer.
Even though it's not Shakespeare, the story does have some charm. I feel the writer is an older person.
Petunia is the main character. She is pleasant and her cat Pansy is interesting, though the name annoyed me every time cause I expected the animal to be female with such a name when it was not the case - it was a guy who had accidentally been turned into the cat.
The murder mystery had Petunia wandering around town having information fall into her lap most conveniently.
Most recent customer reviews
My biggest disappointment was the quantity of typos and misspellings throughout the book.