Let me start by saying that I went into this story with no background info; i.e., nothing on my copy indicated that this was part of a series (because if it had, I never would’ve started here; I have to read a series in order – who doesn’t?).
So after I finished this book, I found out that it’s actually the 11th book of the “Otherworld” collection, which may not be a series in the strictest sense of the word, but definitely is a home base/platform for Armstrong’s body of work. And that would’ve been good to know before I started Witch, because everything about Savannah Levine and her history and powers was sort of assumed from the onset. She just goes right ahead conjuring light balls and casting sensing spells like we’re supposed to already know she can. (Oh, yeah, we are – or we would be if we found our books by helpful means like blogs, instead of roaming bookstore and library aisles and just picking up what ‘calls our name.' :)
Anyway, this book opens smack-dab in the middle of ab-, non-, and para-normal. Besides being the “orphaned daughter of a notorious dark witch and an equally notorious dark sorcerer,” Savannah also works for a supernaturally-bent investigation agency, and, while her bosses are on vacation, her first solo murder case falls into her lap. She immediately roars off to Columbus, Washington on the vintage Triumph motorcycle that she not only drives like a demon, but also knows how to repair, which (of course) stirs up all kinds of drama in a small town that’s not so fond of girls like her.
With all the otherworld-ly stuff going on, the normalcy of cookies is, well, strikingly abnormal. Now, that could be because they’re made at a commune on the outskirts of town where a dozen women live, service, and bake for one very charismatic middle-aged leader, but I don’t want to sell them short because said cookies are certainly not ordinary; they’re “top-end gourmet cookies, twelve dollars a dozen, made from farm fresh eggs and butter.” AND made with “fair-trade dark and milk chocolate, micro-farm macadamia nuts from Hawaii and pecans from Georgia. Organic, kosher, nut-free, if you want it, we offer it.”
And they’re selling like hot cookies, since, as Savannah notes, “Comfort food is recession-proof.” But do these choco-licious cookies smell creepy? Or criminal? All I know is, a dozen iffy women + one dollop too-good-to-be-true batter = suspicious me. You’ll have to read the story to find out if my instincts were pastry-knife sharp, or clouded by all that flour in the air…