November 16, 2014

Book Review - The Hexed

The Hexed
Krewe of Hunters #13
Heather Graham

Published: July 2014

Harlequin MIRA, mass market pbk, 390p.
ISBN: 978-174356597-1

A place of history, secrets. . . and witchcraft

Devin Lyle has recently returned to the Salem area, but her timing couldn't be worse.  Soon after she moved into the eighteenth-century cabin she inherited from her great-aunt Mina - her 'crazy' great-aunt, who spoke to the dead - a woman was murdered nearby.

Craig 'Rocky' Rockwell is a new member of the Krewe of Hunters, the FBI's team of paranormal investigators.  He never got over finding a friend dead in the woods.  Now another body's been foud in those same woods, not far from the home of Devin Lyle.  And Devin has been led to a third body - by a ghost?

Her discovery draws them both deeper into the case and Salem's rich and disturbing history.  Even as the danger mounts, Devin and Rocky begin to fall for each other - something the ghosts of Mina and past witches seem to approve of.  But the two of them need every skill they possess to learn the truth - of Devin's might be the next body in the woods. . .

Ghosts, ghosts and more ghosts!  Throw in some witches, Salem, a couple of bodies and you've got The Hexed in a nutshell.  I'm a sucker for witches and genealogy, so I really enjoyed the history that Heather Graham incorporated in to the storyline.  

The characters in The Hexed were exactly what you'd expect from a Romance book.  You have a pretty girl who meets the handsome, strong and possibly heroic guy.  They get into trouble, fall in love/lust, make out like little bunnies, solve a murder and possibly live happily ever after.  So if you're looking for amazing characters that will break your heart with their realism, then perhaps this isn't the book for you.

However if you are still interested The Hexed follows Devlin, said pretty girl, and our protagonist who has recently moved into her great-aunt's cabin.  There, along with Poe - the raven she inherited -  Devlin writes childrens books.  One day she hears cries for help from the woods surrounding her home.  In true romance fiction style our budding sleuth heads out to see what's happening, only to stumble upon the body of a newly dead woman.  Devlin runs for the road and flags down a car - this car belongs to Rocky, our potentially heroic love interest, who has been sent to find out who is killing the women.  Mystery and chaos ensue.

Apart from our lovers, Devlin and Rocky, there are more than the usual number of secondary characters that don't hesitate to jump into the action.  All are interesting in their own way, and all have links to a murder that took place over 10 years earlier.  Out of all the characters, my favourites would have to be Great-Aunt Mina - yes, she does have a part to play - as well as Poe, the guard Raven who protects Devlin.

On to said mystery angle.  It was well constructed and executed, with suspect all over the place.  They make good grist for misdirection mill by the author, and it worked.  My attention was successfully diverted from the identity of the real killer - I definitely didn't see it coming.  The identity of the killer came right out of left field.  So congrats to the author in that respect.

I will say that while most of my experience reading The Hexed was positive, there were a few issues that really niggled.  The first is that there is no real relationship between Devlin and Rocky.  Just a closeness enforced by a murder investigation.  Amazingly, they managed to hold off jumping into bed until the last third of the book (which is quite refreshing for a change!).   Also - and this is my biggest criticism - that there was no real resolution in regards to the punishment of the killer once he/she/it were caught {trying not to give any spoilers away there ;-D}.  There was no trial, or any other measurable means of justice.  Very annoying to invest in a book and then feel let down at the end.

So in conclusion, while The Hexed is not in the same literary league as War and Peace, or even The Diviners, this book did tick most of the boxes that I look for in regards to a M&B style romance book.  It was fast paced, and the world building let me envisage the characters, and their story easily.  Harlequin MIRA has been publishing some amazing mysteries in the last couple of years and I would recommend that you try them as they aren't all straight up romance with a bit of mystery on the side.  In all I really enjoyed reading The Hexed.  It is a quick read (I finished in under 4 hours) and would be great for travelling.

Until next time,

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