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In Search of a Witch’s Soul
D. Lieber. Ink and Magick, $3.99 e-book (212p) ASIN B07K5JLNZH
In this uneven urban fantasy set in an alternate Prohibition-era America where the public use of magic has been outlawed instead of alcohol, a female private detective hired to find a missing person is caught up in the affairs of witches. Anna Caill is grieving the death of her boyfriend, Cy, and copes through the use of memory spells to relive happier times together. This grants her insight into the magical community, which has recently retreated mostly underground. When she’s hired by Jesse Hunt to find his lost friend, Anna’s search takes her to dangerous corners of New York City and forces her to confront her own feelings for both her best friend, Jack, and the sinister but seductive Jesse. The further she delves into the investigation, the more she questions her own past and future. While Lieber (Intended Bondmates) offers an intriguing premise, drawing upon classic hardboiled tropes and a setting ripe with potential, the characters and story fail to truly engage. The convoluted romantic tension between Anna and her multiple would-be paramours feels forced, with an unsatisfying resolution. The nonlinear nature of the story, incorporating multiple flashbacks through the usage of memory spells, gets confusing, and the prose is clunky (“Scream out your pain. I want to make your dark soul dance”). Readers drawn in by the central conceit will hope that Lieber’s future books do more justice to her innovative ideas. (BookLife)

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on 04/19/2019