In Search of A Witch’s Soul by D Lieber – Review

In Search of A Witch's Soul by D Lieber Review.jpgSummary:

Human, private detective Anna Caill isn’t keen on the prohibition of magic enacted by the 18th Amendment, but she won’t deny it’s good for business. The coppers couldn’t care less about the witches’ problems, giving her any number of clients to choose from.

When mysterious witch Jesse Hunt saunters into her office, he and his case will test her limits. While a killer stalks the magical underworld, Anna is hired to find Jesse’s friend, the high priest of an ancient coven.

As her case unravels, Anna is forced to confront her addiction to a dark spell in this urban fantasy noir.

Review: 3.5 Stars

I was initially drawn to this story because it combined some of my favorite things, prohibition and magic. I’ve always been fascinated with the 1920’s, gangsters, speakeasies and prohibition. I’ve read several books set in the same time period and watched countless movies on the subject. The difference for this book is that instead of prohibition of alcohol it is about the prohibition of humans using magic in a society where witches are ‘out of the closet’.

The main character Anna is a human private detective that often gets called for cases involving witches because she is sympathetic to them and the judgement that they receive since the prohibition laws. Anna gets hired to help find a missing male witch and she also deals with her own personal issues throughout the story. She has gone through difficult times and is having some difficulties coping.

One part of the story I found very interesting is the Living Memory spell. Anna lost a lover, Cy, and is having trouble grieving and moving on, so she keeps reliving her old memories.I could really relate with her pain and loss, but I also found the spell and the way it worked to be fascinating. While the world building isn’t very detailed and I had many questions about how witches and magic were integrated with society, I did really enjoy how the magic itself was described. Some of the spells were depicted so vividly and I found that aspect of the story to be greatly done.

I also really enjoyed the way the mystery unraveled with all of it’s clues. The thoughts and observations that Anna made while gathering information and putting her case together made me feel like a detective myself. Both the plot and writing really kept me reading. The writing and dialogue did a great job of capturing the time period. Some of the phrases used were clearly indicative of the 1920’s, like ‘fella’ and ‘swell’. The way society acted also stayed true to the time, as many people were shocked to find out about a gay couple, yet the author kept homophobia out of the book. D. Lieber’s writing really made the setting feel authentic, yet kept it from being hateful.

While I did enjoy many aspects of the story, I also had several issues with it. There were multiple points of view, Anna’s and Fjolnir’s, both of which were written in first person. In the beginning this was very confusing. As neither point of view had a distinct voice, it was easy to confuse the two. Another issue I had was that I found the way sexual interest was expressed felt clinical, yet slutty at the same time, but certainly not sexy at all. The sex scenes and love interests just turned me off because of this. I think part of it had to do with the word choice, like when the author used words like ‘libido’ and ‘my desire’, but I feel like it was more than just that. The last issue I had was that I guessed the ending, so the story was a bit predictable.

Overall I did really enjoy the book, despite my few issues with it. The author clearly excels at keeping my attention and writing vivid magical scenes. I did like the mystery, but it could have been a bit less predictable. I really struggled to enjoy the romance in this novel and feel like the sex scenes could use some work. I would recommend this to people who enjoy reading urban fantasies with a few sex scenes thrown in. The writing is great for a book as undiscovered as this one.

I received a copy of this book from the author.

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