20.2.14

CASTING SPELLS, by Barbara Bretton

A romance with a knit and a purl instead of a twist: Chloe Hobbs, owner of Sticks and Strings in picture-perfect Sugar Maple, VT. A nice normal beginning, you might say...and then the fun begins. Sugar Maple flies below the crime and police radar because it has no crime...and no births or deaths, either.  There's magic in the air, on the roads, and it blows the roof off Chloe's house at one point. Super-model-hot Suzanne Marsden shows up at Sticks and Strings front windows in a nude dress, not a good idea in mid-winter; she's dead the next morning, (and not from exposure) dragged from the town pond. Handsome (what else?) Luke MacKenzie, Boston cop, arrives on a temporary assignment to investigate Suzanne's murder. A human in Sugar Maple? A power struggle erupts between magickless Chloe and mind-bogglingly gorgeous but deadly Isadora who seeks the Hobbs's Book of Spells so she can control the town. So many plots, so much believable action (Britton can charm you with the magick action as surely as if she were more than just a writing wizard), and an explosion-filled finale. This romance/ mystery gets an 4 from me, and I'll seek out more of Bretton's tales when I want a fun, easy read.