The Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie Viguie

The Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie Viguie © 2012, Signet

A novel in the Witch Hunt series.  Samantha (yes, like Samantha Stevens a la Bewitched) is a witch who has forsaken her powers to become a cop, so she can help people, although one would think if she really wanted to help people, witch power would be a definite plus.  Her fellow cops know she is a witch, but just don’t talk about it. 

When a Salem coven seeks to resurrect Sam’s late, evil witch mother and the vaguely-defined evil beast her mother tried to summon when Sam was a child, Sam has to go undercover, as a witch, to infiltrate and thwart the coven.  Along the way, we see Viguie try mightily to forge relationships between Sam and her cop partner, Ed, and  with an occult specialist, Anthony, neither of which are too emotionally engaging or ultimately go anywhere.

Sam and the coven’s witch power alternates between godlike and non-existent, as the plot dictates, which was the biggest flaw for me.  In one scene, witches know everything that is going on everywhere.  In the next, you can sneak up on them with a knife.  In fiction the rules can be whatever you want, but there have to be some consistency or the plot’s a crapshoot.

Thirteenth had a couple of good elements.  The parts where adult Sam engages with herself as a child were moving and creepy.  Viguie also did a nice reveal on the unexpected mastermind behind the coven.  But the lack of meaningful character realtionships and a clear sense of how witch power works deflated any suspense that might have been.  The paper shall not be sacrificed, however.  It will go into my recycling bin.    

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