Review #35: Book of Shadows by Alexandra Sokoloff
Book of Shadows is a crime thriller with a strong supernatural edge. Homicide detective Adam Garrett and his chain smoking, street weary partner, Landauer are called to the dump site of a headless body with seemingly ritualistic carvings on the torso. The victim is a wealthy college girl, which means the case is more high stakes than usual. Their investigation leads them to a young Goth musician who appears to be dabbling in Satantic rituals. They quickly arrest him, thinking their case is a quick solve. The case is thrown a loop, however, when Salem witch Tanith Cabarrus enters the picture and tells the detectives they have the wrong man in custody.
Garrett, a lapsed Catholic, has a hard time buying into Tanith’s assertions, both because of his religious upbringing and his aspirations to rise up in the Boston P.D., yet he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Tanith. His physical (and possibly spiritual) attraction to her overrides his judgment, and jeopardizes his budding relationship with a young, powerful ADA. As he investigates her claims that they have arrested the wrong person, and the killer is out there soon to kill again, he finds himself pulled into Tanith’s world, questioning everything he every knew about reality.
This novel is quite strong even though I had to suspend my OWN spiritual reality at various points. I too am a lapsed Catholic, and while I do not disbelieve the notion of psychics and spirits, some of the ritualistic parts were a bit “out there” for me (e.g., at one point Tanith “travels” through a mirror to a crime scene). At the same time, the supernatural elements were a nice twist on the traditional crime thriller, and made for a fun ride. Sokoloff’s writing is quite strong. She makes strong and interesting characters, even though I do not think they’re too “deep.” I would like to have known more about Garrett besides his Irish Catholic upbringing and ladder-climbing ambitions. She also wrote some good cliffhangers. I definitely wanted to keep reading at the end of chapters, making it tough at bedtime when I wanted to keep going! I think the biggest complaint is that I wish she had fleshed out the villain’s motivations and back-story more.
I got this one for $2.99 on Amazon (kindle version), and I see Sokoloff has a couple more books for the same price. I’d definitely buy the others to see how she incorporates the supernatural into other genres.