cover image The Eighth Witch

The Eighth Witch

Maynard Sims. Samhain, $6.50 e-book (304p) ISBN 978-1-61921-076-9

The third Department 18 novel (after Black Cathedral and Night Souls), a consistently entertaining blend of supernatural horror and British drawing room mystery, overcomes spots of leaden writing with sturdy plotting skills. With swift, vicious strokes, the writing team of L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims dispatches an upscale married couple in the English town of Ravensbridge with suitably gruesome detail before gearing down to a more leisurely pace with the entrance of Robert Carter, the psychic detective for a secret British agency devoted to investigating the paranormal. While visiting an old friend, Carter begins to question whether several local murders are connected. His investigation inadvertently inspires a rash of attacks and uncovers a link to a family of witches who were murdered 400 years before. Intersections among the expansive cast of well-delineated characters escalate the tension as the story moves toward a surprising whodunit conclusion. (Nov.)