This initial installment in the Witch Season series is a mildly entertaining if intermittently melodramatic caper. Kerry, who is spending the summer working and sharing a house with five peers at a southern California resort, discovers a wounded man under the hedge outside their house one evening. After the stranger refuses medical help (""Let me live or die on my own terms,"" he says), Kerry persuades her housemates to let him stay the night. The next day she skips work to keep vigil as the man sleeps on the sofa. When he finally awakens, he appears younger and more handsome; Kerry observes that holding his hand ""felt comfortable, like being hugged by an old friend."" Kerry learns that the man, Daniel Blessing, is a witch who was born in 1704, and his wounds are the work of his nemesis, a powerful witch named Season (who has caused the death of many, including Daniel's twin brother). He tells Kerry and her housemates that they, too, are in grave danger, since Season has linked them with him, and the young people pledge to help Daniel (who has put them under his ""protection spell"") chase down the villain. The stakeout sequences are a bit protracted and the budding love between Kerry and Daniel leads to some sappy scenes. But some readers will find that the novel's premise and unexpected resolution give it sufficient pizzazz to entice them to move on to Fall, due in October (ISBN 0-689-86724-7). Ages 14-up. (July) .
Reviewed on: 09/27/2004 Release date: 09/01/2004 Genre: Children's