Juliet Blackwell's mystery series are some of my favorites with the strong female characters, the complex relationships, and the paranormal elements. The Witchcraft mysteries feature Lily Ivory, a witch who owns Aunt Cora's Closet, a vintage clothing store in San Francisco. And, as much as I admire Lily for her continued growth and dedication, it's Oscar, Lily's amusing familiar, a Vietnamese potbellied pig/gargoyle, who has my heart. Lily and Oscar are in top form in the latest book, Spellcasting in Silk.
Lily doesn't go looking for trouble. She's enjoying her romance with Sailor, a man with his own powers, and her business is booming with the upcoming Summer of Love celebration. But, a friend, Inspector Carlos Romero from the San Francisco Police Department's Homicide Division, asks for help. As the "unofficial witchy consultant" for anything paranormal for the department, she reluctantly accompanies him to a curanda shop, a shop run by a healer who has been arrested for suspicion due to her possible involvement in a suicide. With the mayor cracking down on fortunetellers and self-proclaimed healers, Romero is investigating. And, the shop itself seems to be out-of-control. Items have been thrown around, and the forensics team refuses to return. While Lily is sorry for the woman who was arrested, she's most concerned about the woman's missing fourteen-year-old granddaughter. People in the magical community refer to the girl, Selena, as "special". And Lily remembers exactly what it was like to be a teenage girl with little control over her powers.
Many in the magical community also see it as a time of unrest in San Francisco. With Lily's strong powers, she teams up with others in the search for the truth. Is there a killer out there, or did a woman really jump from the Golden Gate Bridge? What's the connection between the apparent suicide and the death of another woman that Selena knows? Where is Selena, and how is Lily to help an out-of-control teenager when she herself had little training in the use of her powers?
In each book, Lily grows in her acceptance of her role in the community. Oscar and other guides have encouraged her to build on her original powers, and accept the responsibility she has as a strong witch who cares about people, the magical community, and the city. The addition of a needy teenager forces Lily Ivory to take one more step.
Blackwell merges the paranormal, mystery, fascinating characters, and San Francisco into a compelling story. In each of the Witchcraft mysteries, she ties in some of the history and locations of the city. It's obvious that she and Lily Ivory share a love for San Francisco. It's the perfect setting for a story about a magical community.
Spellcasting in Silk, with its touches of humor (thank you, Oscar), traces of romance, mystery and paranormal elements is another not-to-be-missed entry in a beguiling series.
I have one copy of Spellcasting in Silk to give away. If you would like to enter to win it, email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject line should read "Win Spellcasting in Silk." Please include your name and mailing address. The giveaway will end Thursday, July 16 at 6 PM CT. Entries from the U.S. only, please.
Juliet Blackwell's website is www.julietblackwell.net
Spellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell. Obsidian. 2015. ISBN 9780451465788 (paperback), 328p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.