- File Size: 664 KB
- Print Length: 199 pages
- Publication Date: April 21, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00JUEF96W
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#200,753 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #643 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Supernatural > Witches & Wizards
- #4422 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Cozy
- #5486 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths
Murder Most Witchy (Wendy Lightower Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Stories of paranormal detectives solving murders have become their own genre, I guess. Unfortunately, it's attracted altogether too many self-published, probably mostly quite young novelists who can't write very well. They're full of daydreams with no life experience behind them, and it shows. It's why successful writers cringe at their early work.
Such amateur genre books are easy to spot - they're full of typos and flat-out misuse of the language, and they always drive me away early. No sense wasting time on a book that makes you cringe. Really - have none of these writers heard of editors? Editors do exist and they do tend to catch logical errors and fix simple mistakes.
Then you come across a book that makes digging through the literary dumpsters worth the time because of simple storytelling skill. The Wendy Lightower series rises several levels above its competition simply by the skill of the narrative. It's a light, enjoyable series full of familiar tropes - young female trying to escape the family's magic tradition by taking a mundane job; a hunky male who keeps almost charming her pants off, there being in this case a literal spark between Him and Her; a second hunky male representing wealth and power who keeps almost drawing her away from the first one; a villain who may or may not be innately evil but who wreaks havoc on sundry victims, not all of them very sympathetic; a best friend who is notably beautiful but wishes she were not and compensates by being tough as nails, a fine foil for our heroine (who is also beautiful but doesn't recognize it).... you get the drift.
Rylands uses these tropes not to prop up a weak story but more as reference points to keep her main character oriented and the plot moving smoothly forward, carrying the reader effortlessly along with it. There's a storytelling talent here that I suspect can't be taught. The main character, Wendy Lightower, never does something so stupid it drops your jaw, such as wander into a clearly dire situation looking for her purse (as in one slush-pile book just before I put it down).
Everything Wendy does makes sense from her point of view, events confuse her when appropriate, and the reader is never at a loss to understand her motives. The mystery gets solved, the paranormal is never overplayed, and the characters are believable within the framework of their paranormal universe. It all just kind of flows along, following its own logic. Done well, it looks easy - but not that many writers can actually pull it off. A treat to read.
Actually, I liked this book well enough that I bought the second book in the series (Bell, Book and Murder) and enjoyed that one even more. The tropes became a bit more energized, so to speak, and the action a bit more compelling. Maybe I just mean it improved on the first one in the way it built to a climax, with an ending that the character careened into with little or no control but an utterly believable sense of urgency. This is a writer who knows how to build on experience. The characters grow and develop as the stories go forward - it's always a pleasure when a writer can make that happen.
I was impressed enough to preorder the third book in the series, scheduled in 2015. I don't often do that, but I simply find this series immensely appealing. Why risk missing the next one?
Now for the deducted star. Did I mention I wish writers self-publishing in the Kindle marketplace would find an editor? Rylands clearly used care in putting together this book and the next; they are less typo-riddled than most such efforts, though the chapter labeled "EIGTHEEN" in the second book drew a smile. Hey, these things happen. No big deal, though an editor probably would have noticed.
But no writers can catch their own personal writing "tics" and moderate them; it takes an editor to do that, using a second pair of eyes. For example, Rylands repeatedly and frequently misuses the word "smirk" to mean, not the dictionary sense of a smug, offensive smile, but any form of smile with a little extra spice. You have to guess whether she maybe means a crooked smile, or an ironic one, or a hovering laugh, or a nascent grin, or affectionate amusement, or... Nope. They're all just smirks. It's a writer's tic and all writers have them.
There are logical errors that a good editor would catch, too. A car lurches forward, throwing its passengers forward rather than back into their seats. It's a common enough mistake by people who think a car always follows a forward lurch with sudden deceleration, which is true mostly in Driver's Ed. A decently skilled editor would have suggested ways around such a silly mistake.
There are other such mistakes but these tales have such a light touch the errors didn't annoy me enough to put down the book. It wouldn't surprise me if Rylands smiles (not smirks) a lot. Still, professional writers need to know better than to publish without an editor. I hope Rylands finds one soon, because these tales are so enjoyable, I'd love to give the next one that fifth star.
If you're in the mood for a story that will carry you right along without any pretense of Heavy Significance and no fixation on food or violent action simply to prove how tough the heroine is... - maybe you want a light read on a long plane flight, or you're simply tired of TV and want to voice some appealing characters yourself, in your head - this series may be just ticket. It was for me.
The characters were fun but not deeply developed and a little on the cliché side. The outline of a love-triangle felt unsupported and annoying (especially since I couldn't figure out why she even considered one of the men). There was no significant world-building. So, while it was entertaining it all felt very much like fluff.
The writing itself was straightforward, though the occasional abrupt shift in POV was jarring. There did seem to be a need for some further editing. I caught a lot of small mistakes, little things like the 'witch trails' instead of witch trials. Perfectly readable, but also distracting.
All in all, not a bad book but not great either. Kind of a witchy, cozy mystery. I'd read the second if I found it free, but I'm not rushing out to buy it.
Wendy enjoys her life. She is a head librarian in her home town. She gets to restore delicate and old books and her life is just as she wants, or so she thinks. When she finds the body of Benny, the sweet cleaning guy, she quickly finds that his death was caused by magic most fowl. With twists and turns, this paranormal mystery novel leads us on a couple of wild goose chases, but in the end gives us a very satisfactory read. A great start to what I am sure will be a fun series.
I picked up this book when it was on a free day but I think you will be more than happy if you bought it outright.
I very much enjoyed reading about Ms. Rylands’ cast of characters, which include a female witch (Wendy) who loves working as a librarian over her family roots of investigating paranormal activities; a pushy uncle who owns a paranormal investigating business; and a gorgeous male witch.
Unfortunately, murders occur in Wendy’s precious library sanctuary, which drags her reluctantly into the family business. The good news is that Wendy is not alone in trying to figure out the ‘who dun-it’ aspect of her investigations. Handsome witch, Ian, is right next to her helping where he can, her uncle is working behind the scenes, and her best friend, Magda (a non-witch), puts her two-cents in as well. The plot twists and turns to keep you guessing and interested. This is a family-friendly read, appropriate for adults and older teens. I will definitely put Ms. Rylands books on my TBR list.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
But not this time. Interested in reading further about Wendy.
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