Title: Witch Way to Murder
Author: Shirley Damsgaard
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Publication Date: August 30, 2005
What It's About: Thirty something Ophelia Jensen wants to live a quiet life as a small town librarian. She's created a comfortable existence with her kooky, colorful grandmother Abby, and if it were up to her, they could live out their days—along with Ophelia's dog Lady and cat Queenie—in peace and quiet. But, to Ophelia's dismay, she and Abby aren't a typical grandmother/granddaughter duo. She possesses psychic powers, and Abby is a kindly witch. And while Ophelia would do anything to dismiss her gift—harboring terrible guilt after her best friend was killed and she was unable to stop it—threatening events keep popping up, forcing her to tap into her powers of intuition. To make matters worse, a strange—yet devastatingly attractive—man is hanging around Ophelia's library, and no matter how many times she tells him she's sworn off men forever, he persists. Soon this handsome newcomer reveals he's following a lead on a local drug ring, and then a dead body shows up right in Abby's backyard. And much as Ophelia would like to put away her spells forever, she and Abby must use their special powers to keep themselves, and others, out of harm's way. (via Amazon)
What I Thought:
I really wanted to like this book because I have heard so many good things about the series as a whole and, while I fully intend to read the rest of the series, this first book just didn't do much for me. First off, the lead character Ophelia really puzzled me. Ophelia is a librarian who is also a witch, but because of some tragic events in her life she disregards her heritage. In the course of her work she meets a man named Rick who comes into the library looking for some information about the town in the beginning of the book. The problem is that right off the bat he starts asking her personal question after personal question and instead of telling a man she doesn't know to sod off she answers them!!!! Has this woman never heard of stalkers? Now I may be being a bit too harsh, but it just seems really strange that an intelligent woman, especially one whose best friend was murdered some years earlier, would know to be more careful. I just couldn't relate. But, her and Rick have similar interludes several times throughout the book and she always answers his questions, so I suppose the author want her readers to take a leap of faith and believe in good ole' Rick.
One thing I have to point out specifically that bothered me in the story about Ophelia, is in the course of her investigation when she gets sucked into events happening around the small town she lives in and needs to find out some important information, her 70-something year old grandmother, who doesn't know how to use a computer, has to remind her that she can use her computer and the internet to do some important research. Isn't Ophelia supposed to be a librarian? The book was written in 2005, so the internet was definitely in full swing. I would think that a librarian would know right off hand where to find certain types of info.
Then there are her would be romantic inklings towards Rick. It is no joke that their main interactions throughout the book are him asking her intrusive questions and her answering them. Then they stumble upon a dead body and all of the sudden she is falling for him. Obviously the author was trying to make clear that Ophelia and Rick are supposed to have this strong attraction to each other that could lead to something more meaningful in the future. However, I just didn't buy it. There really wasn't anything in the book that would lead me to believe that a woman would fall for this guy based on the situations I read unless you count how attractive he is. If it had been me I probably would have been completely creeped out by the guy and called the cops numerous time on him.
The most interesting character in the story is Abby, Ophelia's witch grandmother, and unfortunately she is barely utilized in the book. She pops up now and then mainly to give Ophelia the ominous warning that bad events are coming to a head and they will involve Ophelia and Rick. You get a small peek at her magical workings, but nothing overly substantial. I am really hoping that in future books she plays an even bigger role.
The book is a really easy read. It was not the most exciting read ever and I am sure you can tell that there were many things that bothered me about the book, not too mention it was a bit predictable as to who the bad guy was, but I think the series could have potential. I look forward to delving into the additional books in the series. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a light read that they could finish in a day or two and doesn't require a lot of higher brain power.