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.