Friday, 21 February 2020

Witch Dust - Marilyn Messik


For Sandra, daughter of illusionists, Adam and Ophelia, life’s never been run of the mill! But when Adam’s wandering eye lights on yet another conquest, Sandra’s caught in the reverberations of her parents acrimonious parting. Coerced into restoring her depressed Mother to the bosom of a family Sandra never knew existed, she’s sucked into a situation that even for her is unnerving. 

From being without a single relative, she suddenly acquires several she’d rather do without. Ophelia, it appears, has not been entirely honest about any number of things. There’s no doubt in Sandra’s mind, the sooner she puts as much distance as possible between herself, the newly discovered nearest and dearest with their peculiar tendencies and failing hotel business, the happier she’s going to be.

There are just a few things to sort first including a possessed chef; a hanged housemaid; a fly-on-the-wall documentary and a doppelgänger. Things slide swiftly from bad to farce and then get a hell of a lot darker. One minute she’s saving the family business the next, battling to save their lives. Turns out, some darknesses, once buried, are best left undisturbed.

What did I think?

I've read the first two books in the Strange Series (which I highly recommended) so I know that Marilyn Messik spins a good yarn and standalone novel Witch Dust is a hugely entertaining story.  It starts with a bang and rather like a boulder rolling downhill it seems to gather pace with the turn of each page; I was turning pages so fast I'm surprised I didn't end up with a load of paper cuts.  I also have to say that the cover is completely awesome; it looks like the Bates Motel and that fits perfectly with the story actually.

Sandra's parents, Adam and Ophelia, are famous illusionists and for them all the world is a stage.  In typical showbiz fashion, Sandra's real name is Serenissima but she is happy to stay behind the curtain and out of the limelight.  Over the years, Sandra sees a few strange things going on in the show that appear to be more than an illusion but magic isn't real, is it?

After a fight with Adam, Ophelia turns up in Sandra's living room and asks Sandra to drive her to her family home.  There's nothing odd about that except Ophelia has always told Sandra that she was adopted and had no real family.  Finding out that she has family she never knew about comes as quite a shock for Sandra but there are many more shocks and surprises in store for her when she meets them.  Let's just say that they make The Addams Family look normal.

Much like a disturbance in the force, Sandra and Ophelia arriving at the family home, which the family have turned into a hotel, results in a lot of interest from the local community.  It's not a spoiler to say (as the title is Witch Dust after all) that it could be seen as a 'gathering' and with so many strange things happening, I was reading with a growing feeling of unease and a sense of impending danger.  The story is so compelling, and Marilyn Messik has a knack of ending her chapters with cliffhangers, that you can't help but read 'one more chapter' that turns into about ten more chapters until suddenly you've read the whole book in no time at all.

Witch Dust is such a magical, spooky and unique book; it's like an episode of Supernatural, Bewitched and Charmed all rolled into one.  Prepare to expect the unexpected and you'll still be shocked and surprised; I absolutely loved it.  If you're looking to read something different for a change, you won't get more different than Witch Dust.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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