Review of Pretty Witches All in a Row, by Lisa Olsen

All the Pretty Witches all in a RowI snagged a copy of Lisa Olsen‘s Pretty Witches All in a Row from the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
Someone is picking off a coven of witches one by one. Can Sgt. Nick Gibson and his team of detectives catch the killer before he loses the pretty witch who’s got him under her spell?

Nick must cast aside his disbelief and delve into the world of the supernatural to solve the case. On hand to help is Annaliese, a member of the coven who claims to have had a prophetic dream at the exact time of each victim’s death, offering clues to the identity of the killer. Can he accept the ‘proof’ offered by unconventional means or is she deliberately leading him astray to hide her own secrets? To cloud the issue, a local evangelist is telling anyone who asks that the victims had it coming. Is religious mania the motive for murder, or is it something more personal?

This was a pleasant little read. It kept me occupied for an evening, which was all I was asking of it. I liked the main characters (though I did find Nick’s endless banter juvenile). They weren’t all that well defined. Everyone’s past stays murky. For example, something apparently happened in LA that undermined Nick’s trust in his daughter and prompted them to move to Portland, but the reader never learns what it is. Nor do you learn how Annaliese came to practice Wicca or much of anything about the coven members, etc. Everything is kept fairly shallow. Similarly, all of the side characters are mere cut outs, with no depth.

The police procedure part of the book was a mess. It was fun to read, but I had to suspend A LOT of disbelief to roll with it. Nick broke just about every rule in the book (contaminating evidence, removing evidence without permission, releasing confidential information, taking a civilian into a crime scene, fabricating statements, etc), which didn’t really match his otherwise good cop persona. Again, it was amusing but by no means believable.

Honestly, the mystery wasn’t that hard to figure out. Let’s face it; the vilification of the aged is so common that as soon as I see one old woman amidst a cast of younger ones I can pinpoint the villain instantly. The book did provide a red herring or two, to make the reader doubt the obvious, but they were weak to say the least. It’s pretty obvious who is behind everything and even why.

So, final thoughts…a fun read, but not topping any Best Of lists for me

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