Book Review: The Witch’s Heart

The Witch’s Heart by Iris Kincaid.

I’d give this a 3 out of 5 stars, for specific reasons.

I wanted to like this book. I found the concept – organ transplants from unusual donor – interesting, and I was looking for a light, fluffy, cozy mystery to read. Because sometimes you just want fluff and Good Guys Solve Crime, Bad Guys Jailed, The End.

There’s actually a lot to like about this book. I found the writing good, the characters plausible – and the main characters actually realistic and likeable, yay, can’t always find that. There’s a mystery, actually a couple mysteries, there’s romance, and Margo Bailey (heart recipient) definitely strikes a sympathetic chord when she’s finally able to go out and live life rather than wait every day to die.

I personally have three problems with the story, though.

The first… well. Anyone who knows a little about organ donation would want to pounce on the doctor responsible for this situation and take away their license. Though that is at least addressed as morally shady in the story itself, so you could file that under “acceptable breaks from reality”.

The second is that the story doesn’t go too deeply into how magic works. Again, wasn’t all that important to the main plot, and what magic was used was foreshadowed and explained, so that’s more a personal preference than anything really story-wrong.

The third, though, is the “wall the book” for me. I went into this expecting a romantic cozy mystery with magic. And one of the key components of a mystery, for me, is that the sleuth is working hard to try to find the clues of not only 1) whodunit, but 2) why?

But in this story Margo essentially stumbles on the reason why by way of authorial saving throw; her might-yet-be familiar doing something very catlike that results in Margo having that key “why” in her hands. Granted, she had to think fast to recognize just why it was important. But after a whole book of chasing false lead after false lead, to have the reason for the murder just fall into her lap in less than half a page? Argh.

Grump. Grumpy grump.

Verdict: If someone gave me the rest of the books in this series I’d probably read them. Light, fluffy, a little magic and action – sure, they’re fun. But I was looking for a mystery with a sleuth. Guess I’ll need to keep looking.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: The Witch’s Heart

  1. But after a whole book of chasing false lead after false lead, to have the reason for the murder just fall into her lap in less than half a page?

    That is often annoying.

    Yes, we know that kind of stuff happens in real life. But you can’t really do it in fiction because it FEELS unrealistic to the readers. And can break their immersion in the story.

    My current fluffy mysteries is the Mrs. Murphy series by Rita Mae Brown / Sneaky Pie Brown. There is no magic but Mrs. Murphy is a cat, the titles are often cat puns, the mysteries are pretty good, and I liked the bulk of the characters. There is the occasional hiccup in the story (the resolution of Murder at the Monticello makes me roll my eyes) or the continuity but overall good

    Or at least I think so. Your mileage may vary.

    The first book is Wish You Were Here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lester Dent: “Did God kill the villain? Or the hero?”

    Having a similar problem in writing. I’m not sure what I’m doing with the project and haven’t found a genre whose expectations will be satisfied. I don’t know how to communicate to the readers what to expect beyond explicitly saying “don’t expect a mystery” etc. But until it is finished, I am borrowing trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For fluffyish mysteries, I really enkoy Donna Andrew’s Meg Langslow series. The titles are bird puns. The protagonist Meg is competent but not OP. And all the characters feel real to me. It’s also hilarious, but not in a stupid pratfall way.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A shady organ transplant from a supernatural creature results in the protagonist inheriting unusual abilities and winds them up in the middle of some trouble? Didn’t I watch that plot line in Tokyo Ghoul?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Huh, mysteries…I second the Murphy ones above, one of my guilty pleasures is The Cat Who series, the first 2 books are excellent, the first 10 pretty good, then it kind of gets lost, but they are good until then.

    I also liked the first few Susan Conant books, if you have any interest in Dog breeding or showing, they are nice mysteries revolving around those areas. Unfortunately, magic style mysteries either make me think of Case of The Toxic Spell Dump or the Lord Darcy series. Though if you haven’t read those, you should.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wonder if you’d like Deb Coates’ trilogy. It’s sort of mystery. Not particularly fluffy, but I keep going back to it as a comfort read of sorts, so MMV.

    First is Wide Open wherein our main character Hallie returns on compassionate leave from Afghanistan for her sister’s funeral. One of the first things she sees when she gets off the plane is her sister’s ghost. She’s seen some ghosts since a death/revival episode while in ‘Stan. They want something from her. The mystery is what. I really like what her comrade’s ghost wanted. And Del’s ghost is only the first of several of young women all of a type. The mystery is who killed them and why. It’s sort of urban fantasy mystery set in rural South Dakota.

    Liked by 1 person

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