SPELLCASTING IN SILK BY JULIET BLACKWELL, REVIEWED

spellcasting in silk cover

SPELLCASTING IN SILK

Juliet Blackwell

July 7, 2015
Obsidian

Juliet Blackwell’s seventh Witchcraft Mystery, Spellcasting in Silk, finds vintage-clothing-store owner and “unofficial witchy consultant” Lily Ivory assisting the San Francisco Police Department in yet another investigation—this one involving “a curandera shop gone haywire, a suspicious suicide, and a missing kid.”

Spellcasting in Silk has an intriguing setup, a complex plot, and does a great job forwarding the series arc; supernatural crime has been on the rise since Lily arrived in the City by the Bay, and the events of this book make it clear she’ll have an important role to play in what’s to come (whatever that turns out to be…). The tale manages to educate while it entertains; readers will walk away from Lily’s latest adventure wiser on topics ranging from Santeria to the Golden Gate Bridge. The book has a marvelous sense of place; I’ve never traveled to San Francisco, but thanks to Blackwell’s descriptions, I feel as though I’ve been there. And Blackwell writes about vintage fashion in a way that makes even this jeans-and-t-shirt devotee want to sprint to the nearest consignment shop.

What really sets Juliet Blackwell apart from the pack, though, is her stellar character work. Lily’s a marvelous heroine—fearless, funny, and flawed—but I confess, it’s her supporting cast that keeps me coming back, book after book. Dark, sexy, and mysterious psychic Sailor isn’t just one of my favorite literary love interests, he’s also a perfect partner in crime. SFPD homicide inspector Carlos Romero is a refreshing change from the stereotypical cozy mystery cop; neither antagonist nor love interest, he may not understand Lily’s talents or beliefs, but he respects them, and he values her input. Sorcerer Aidan Rhodes grows more enigmatic and charismatic with every passing book; just when you think his relationship with Lily couldn’t get any more complicated, Blackwell throws another wrench in the works. Sailor’s mentor, the sultry yet spoiled Patience Blix, makes a delightfully antagonistic and utterly unpredictable addition to Lily’s universe. And anyone who doesn’t love Lily’s familiar, Oscar the gobgoyle, is clearly dead inside.

Katrina Niidas Holm

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