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October 18, 2018
by Jennifer David Hesse
Mystery & Thrillers
Pub Date 28 Aug 2018
Samhain Secrets brings a welcome taste of fall to combat the lingering summer heat. As you may expect from the title, there is a paranormal aspect to the mystery, but don’t be daunted - Samhain Secrets is a mystery foremost rather than a fantasy. Keli Milanni is a practicing Wiccan, but that is only one of many parts to her life. Jennifer Hesse’s new cozy is a murder mystery where an important and controversial set of topics plays a major role - mass commercial farming, pesticide use and the forced reliance of small farmers on genetically modified seeds (which must be purchased each season because the plants are sterile).
Keli always felt connected to her Aunt Josephine, despite their few meetings. Kelli’s Aunt Josephine was always a free spirit, focused on environmental causes, but Keli doesn’t realize the extent of her Aunt’s activities until after her body is discovered and Keli begins to investigate. Why was Josephine in town? What had she discovered or threatened to reveal that made her a target? I have to admit that the novel is a bit predictable. (The culprit was obvious from early on). But the writing and the character interaction more than make up for that.
Jennifer Hesse’s Samhain Secrets is an entertaining cozy with just the right amount of supernatural intervention. The skillful inclusion of current issues adds to the suspense, and encourages the reader ask questions. All in all, Samhain Secrets is a well plotted cozy with a fascinating assortment of supporting characters and suspects. Whether you are selecting a mystery for a book group or choosing one for your own enjoyment, Samhain Secrets is an excellent choice.
4 / 5
I received a copy of Samhain Secrets from the publisher and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
It’s that haunted time of year, when skeletons come out to play. But Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni discovers it isn’t just restless spirits who walk the night . . .
After her recent promotion to junior partner, Keli is putting in overtime to juggle her professional career and private Wiccan spiritual practice. With Halloween fast approaching, her duties include appearing as a witch at a “haunted” barn and hand-holding a client who’s convinced her new house is really haunted. But it’s the disappearance of Josephine O’Malley that has Keli spooked.
The missing person is Keli’s aunt, an environmental activist and free spirit who always seemed to embody peace, love, and independence. When Josephine is found dead in the woods, Keli wonders if her aunt’s activities were as friendly as they seemed. As Keli comes to terms with her loss—while adjusting to having a live-in boyfriend and new demands at work—she must wield her one-of-a-kind magic to banish negative energy if she’s going to catch a killer this Samhain season. Because Keli isn’t ready to give up the ghost . . .
Praise for Yuletide Homicide
“A perfect read.” —Library Journal
“Hesse easily balances murder and romance in this holiday tale that’s so cozy.”