Looking for Mr. Good Witch
A Retired Witches Mystery, Book #2
By Joyce and Jim Lavene
Author’s website: www.Joyceandjimlavene.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
A sea witch has been leaving bodies in her wake up and down the Carolina coast, baffling authorities who are finding drowning victims with no water in their lungs. The fin-icky female will continue to kill young male witches until she finds her perfect man—the one who survives her mating ritual—so she can live for another hundred years. And now coven hopeful Brian Fuller is about to be ensnared in her net.
Retired witches Molly and Elsie, along with the ghost of Olivia and her daughter Dorothy, need all the help they can get to stop the sea witch. Aided by a selkie and a crème puff–craving mermaid, they’re determined to keep Brian out of her murky clutches. But are they all about to get in over their heads?
What if witches and all sorts of other magical creatures walked among us, living lives just like ours, working and raising families? What kinds of secret dangers would this realm bring to our reality? Joyce and Jim Lavene have created just such a scenario in their Retired Witches Mystery series. Looking for Mr. Good Witch is the highly entertaining second installment in said series.
Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are part of a long standing coven in Wilmington, North Carolina, and they are ready to retire. They just need to find their replacements first. In Spell Booked, the first book in the series, their book of spells is stolen and Olivia becomes a ghost. Looking begins about six months after the events of the Spell Booked, and the trio is still on the hunt for their book, busy training their new member Dorothy (who happens to be Olivia’s long lost daughter), and trying to convince young witch Brian to join their coven, but he remains uncommitted. Olivia is struggling with her new identity as a ghost and is feeling the limitations and prejudices associated with her new state. Molly is worried that the Witch Council will learn that her husband Joe now knows that she is a witch and will wipe his memory clean. When Cassandra from the Council issues a warning that young male witches are being killed and Joe is assigned to a case in which a serial killer is targeting young men along the coast, Molly and her coven cannot help but think that they are after the same killer. To complicate matters, Joe has been temporarily assigned to partner with his ex-wife who is a detective in Savannah. When Brian starts acting strangely, the others fear that the sea witch is after him next.
As if a witch that kills until she finds her perfect mate is not enough to keep them busy, the Bone Man appears to Molly several times. He wants a favor, and dealing with him is never easy. In exchange for Molly finding and delivering his wife, he will protect Joe and Molly’s son from the Witch Council.
There is a lot going on in Looking for Mr. Good Witch, but the story never gets bogged down or confusing. The Lavene’s are excellent at their craft and can spin quite a spellbinding yarn keeping the reader guessing until the end. I really enjoyed learning the history of Molly’s amulet that she inherited from her mother. Equally engrossing was the Bone Man’s back story. The tension that builds as the witch’s worry about Brian’s fate kept me turning pages long after bedtime.
All of the characters are well developed and are so diverse in personality and abilities that I feel I have “known” them far longer than two books would suggest. Olivia’s concern over the budding relationship between Brian and Dorothy provides some chuckles. After all, how can it not be awkward that Brian had a romantic relationship with Olivia right before her death and is now interested in her daughter? The friendship and camaraderie among the older witches is great and makes me feel like they would generously welcome me into their fold. Similarly, Molly’s relationship with Joe is solid and helps firmly ground the paranormal elements in reality. Elsie, being the oldest of the group, has a good attitude about her waning powers, and her relationship with Larry the werewolf has the potential to provide a lot of fun in future adventures. Brian is a bit cocky, but I think his attitude and magic will be tamed once he is part of the coven. The only character I have not warmed up to is Dorothy. She seems so literal and a bit needy. I hope she grows on me.
Looking for Mr. Good Witch is a solid sophomore entry in what I hope will become a long running series. I enjoy the world that Joyce and Jim Lavene have created with one foot in magic and the other firmly planted in reality. I recommend this to fans of the authors’ other works, readers who like their protagonists to have a bit more experience under their belts (older), and those who like a touch of the mystic in their cozy mysteries.