cover image Mark of the Witch

Mark of the Witch

Maggie Shayne. Mira, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1333-5

"Hunky" priest Father Tomas makes an underwhelming first impression as the initial romantic focus of Shayne's paranormal Portal trilogy launch. Nervous, hypocritical, and somewhat cowardly, Tomas is very much the beta male, and his lust for Indira Simon, a dynamic lapsed Wiccan, only underscores his weakness. On such shaky ground, the love story that is supposed to develop in the face of imminent demonic apocalypse gains little traction. Indy has recurrent visions involving gruesome mutilations and death; the descriptions are not for delicate stomachs. A convoluted yet superficial apparatus of Gnosticism, Wiccan ritual, reincarnation, and Babylonian culture props up the action/adventure plot but never comes together convincingly. Shayne offers thrills and chills with pretty people, but fails to knit characters and events together into a plausible narrative. Agent: Eileen Fallon, Fallon Literary Agency. (Oct.)