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Friday, October 27, 2017

Charmed to Death by Shirley Damsgaard (October TBR List Pick)


Ophelia Jensen's good witch granny Abigail revels in her paranormal powers. But Ophelia never asked for her bothersome psychic abilities -- especially since they proved worthless when the thirty-something librarian's best friend Brian was murdered by a still-unknown assailant.

Now, five years later, another friend is gone, killed in almost identical fashion. Even dear old Abby isn't safe, distracted as she is by her fight to prevent a massive, mega-polluting pig-farming operation from invading their small Iowa town. And Ophelia can't count on her snarling, scoffing nemesis, police detective Henry Comacho, to get the job done, so she'll have to take matters into her own hands. Because a common thread to the crimes -- and a possible next victim -- is suddenly becoming troublingly apparent . . . and it's Ophelia Jensen herself!

It has been so long since I read the first book, I apparently wasn't even tracking anything on Goodreads yet. Luckily you get enough back story and the current story is contained enough that it wasn't a problem for me. While the plot does revolve a lot around Ophelia's past, everything you need to know is explained.

I adore the covers of this series as they all feature a black cat in a spooky setting. Unfortunately that is pretty much where the cat-ness ends, other than the fact that Ophelia has a pet black cat, Queenie, she doesn't feature in the stories other than being present when Ophelia is at home. That is my biggest pet peeve with cozy mysteries is how many of them feature cats on the cover as a hook to lure you in, then the cat, or maybe there isn't even a cat at all, has nothing to do with the action.  I pretty much harp on this every time I find it in my cozy reading, and I think even mentioned it to this author, Shirley Damsgaard when she was doing a question answer session on a friend's blog!  I actually ended up winning this copy, which is signed, from that!  As I recall Shirley validated my complaint, agreeing that often the publishing company will feature cats in the artwork, because they know it sells books! Anyway, moving on! LOL!

Ophelia gets to explore more of her powers and her heritage in this second book, where she receives more visions, learning to use them more fully, and is gifted with some tools of an ancestor by her grandmother Abby.  While I do enjoy the magical aspects of the story, Ophelia and Abby's abilities, I had figured out the culprit pretty quickly, which I don't usually do.  In spite of that, it's still an interesting plot layout, and the background issue of the pig farm is relevant to small town rural areas, if not appealing.

I don't remember if Comacho was in the first book, as he is more related to the original murder of her friend that happened before the first book takes place, that is what she's trying to get away from.  He's a great character, because of course every heroine needs a handsome guy to drive her crazy, and he definitely does.  He is convinced she's hiding something (of course she is) and he's determined to find out what it is (because of course he is), which leads the two of them to grudgingly work together where they get to know each other better (because of course they do!).

In spite of the lack of cat-action, it is a solid series that keeps my interest, and I'll definitely be reading the rest, which I already own, because I love the covers!  Seriously, they are super artwork, I wish I had them poster sized!  They were definitely cover covet buys. ;)

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