Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I can barely live with the things I have done. How can I ask him too? “
Samantha Ryan grew up in one of Salem’s most powerful covens until a spell worked by her coven destroyed them all…except for her. Found and adopted, Samantha suppressed her traumatic childhood and did everything possible to distance herself from the evil that surrounded and embraced her as a child. Now grown and a Boston cop, Samantha is being pulled back into that world when a series of horrific murders show that witches are once again back in Salem. As the only “witch” within the police department, Samantha agrees to go undercover and ferret out the witches and their nefarious plans.
Once Samantha arrives in Salem, she begins to “reinvent” herself into the powerful witch she would have been had she continued to practice her coven’s black magic. While there she meets a witchcraft museum owner, Anthony, who also has a personal interest at stake concerning the covens’ return to Salem. Samantha begins to infiltrate the coven; attempting to locate the high priestess, and learn the real reasons behind the murders.
Debbie Viguie’s The Thirteenth Sacrifice is a dark and intense supernatural suspense thriller with a strong police investigative feel. A heavy mal permeates the story and the descriptive prose makes for a haunting tale. It’s not often that a book actually gives me the creeps anymore, but this one did. Ms. Viguie doesn’t hold back as she sets up the storyline and main conflict. We aren’t spared the gore and horror that Samantha both endured in the past and now in the present as she finds herself placed in the middle of a supernatural war. Our heroine, Samantha, is a tough and intelligent woman, with a vulnerability that is appealing. She is one of those people who you know will sacrifice themselves to save the innocent. I enjoyed watching her come to grips with her fear of having to enter back into a world that both scares and tempts her. The magic she has buried deep inside her is a seduction that becomes easier to accept as she is forced to use her magic more in her undercover investigation. Yet, even with her powers, she isn’t an instant “fix.” She sacrifices much to solve the mystery, stop the coven, and stay true to herself.
A steady pacing kept me entertained as Ms. Viguie intertwines the main plot and backstory with no confusion or abruptness. Witchcraft and religion are a solid foundation, but doesn’t give the story a “religious” feel. Ms. Vigue does a wonderful job with explaining the differences between wiccan, black magic, and Christianity, and allowing Samantha to use her faith as a shield against the dark powers that be.
The romantic aspects are very lightweight with the potential being hinted at with Anthony but the storyline doesn’t allow for romantic entanglements. Secondary characters are well developed additions that help to carry the tension and suspense of the story. Samantha’s partner Ed and her Captain play large behind the scenes roles and bring to light deep seated prejudices that still surround witches and witchcraft. I would have liked more physical interaction with Ed since he is her partner, but the storyline explains the reasons they are separated. The witches that Samantha face are malignant human beings whose evil intents ooze off the page. Their reasons for being in Salem come to light slowly through the book and led to a climatic powerful ending that assures us that this is not overfor Samantha Ryan.
The Thirteenth Sacrifice combines all my favorite genres into one enjoyable tale that will leave you looking over your shoulder after you close the book. I look forward to reading more about Samantha Ryan and her witchy ways.
Overall Rating: B