A Modern Johnny Appleseed or an Eco-Terrorist?

Samhain Secrets

Samhain_Secrets_Cover#4 A Wiccan Wheel Mystery
by Jennifer David Hesse
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Formats available:  Paperback, Electronic
Pub Date: 8.28.18 | 326 pages

REVIEWER: Sophia Rose


E-arc provided by publisher through Net Galley for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


It’s that haunted time of year, when skeletons come out to play. But Edindale, Illinois, attorney Keli Milanni discovers it isn’t just restless spirits who walk the night…

After her recent promotion to junior partner, Keli is putting in overtime to juggle her professional career and private Wiccan spiritual practice. With Halloween fast approaching, her duties include appearing as a witch at a “haunted” barn and hand-holding a client who’s convinced her new house is really haunted. But it’s the disappearance of Josephine O’Malley that has Keli spooked.

The missing person is Keli’s aunt, an environmental activist and free spirit who always seemed to embody peace, love, and independence. When Josephine is found dead in the woods, Keli wonders if her aunt’s activities were as friendly as they seemed. As Keli comes to terms with her loss–while adjusting to having a live-in boyfriend and new demands at work–she must wield her one-of-a-kind magic to banish negative energy if she’s going to catch a killer this Samhain season. Because Keli isn’t ready to give up the ghost . . . http://jenniferdavidhesse.com/books.html




I was looking for a spooky cozy mystery for the Autumn and came across this new to me author and series. The cover screamed ‘Spooky,’ as did the title. The blurb intrigued me further. I was curious that amateur detective heroine is a practicing Wiccan and I wanted to learn more about it.

Samhain Secrets is the fourth book in the Wiccan Wheel mystery series. It has an ongoing series storyline with the main character, Keli, her love interest, her friends and associates introduced by Jennifer David Hesse in the earlier books. That said, I had no trouble jumping in with this fourth book.and

So, the murder mystery occurs during Samhain (Sow-en- I’ve been pronouncing this wrong all these years) and one of Keli’s clients is upset that her new home is haunted  needs Keli’s advice and help. Keli is getting visions and dreams sent from her dead aunt to help her solve the murder.

My hope to learn about everyday practices and holiday practices for a Wiccan were more than met. I enjoyed meeting someone who represented well. I’ve tried to enjoy fiction stories before featuring a Wiccan character, but they always felt like a cliche. Keli did not. She cares about leaving a soft carbon footprint and she is Vegan. She’s practical and down to earth in many ways.Keli is a lawyer with a nice boyfriend whom she met in the first book. They are figuring out the first days of moving in together.

There were a couple disappointments that kept this from being completely enjoyable. First of all, Keli was rather a jerk to her boyfriend. She worried that she and Wes were like ships in the night with her job getting more and more demanding and she felt distance growing. The distance was all on her. He’s leaving her notes and trying to keep his schedule clear at certain times for them to be together while she doesn’t seem to say no or set boundaries with anyone except Wes. I get it. She’s trying to solve her aunt’s murder, but there’s this cool invention called a cell phone and hers is even cooler because it allows for texting. Seriously, she would turn around and disappear on him for hours with no heads up about her changed plans so he’s left texting and worrying with no response knowing she’s investigating a murder. On one occasion, the last he heard, she was meeting with a guy who was interested in her and she brushes him off when he warns her that a guy from her law office also has an interest- oh and lets not forget the secretive writer who also gets a warm look and likes what he sees (yes, it was one of those where every guy seemed to be attracted). She gets all snippy at him when he called her on it. Fortunately, this seemed to be her epiphany moment because she then worked to include him in her plans.

Secondly, I’m about to contradict myself a bit with the way I described her when I said she wasn’t the cliche and was impressed that she was practical. I was speaking of her lifestyle, but now I’m referring to her amateur sleuthing efforts. For some reason, I always have the idea that lawyers are deliberate and analyze their moves and words. So, I got a surprise when she acted impulsively and pulled a couple o f stupid moves that she survived because she was lucky. She would frequently go dashing into the dark with no backup or anyone knowing where she’s at on the trail of a murderer and she kept stuff back from the cops and broke into private property more than once to snoop. Oys…

The mystery set up was interesting because it involved the world of environmentalism — specifically farming practices, the availability of heirloom seeds and eco-terrorism. Keli’s Aunt Josephine ran a non-profit that got heirloom seeds into hands of farmers who were working hard to keep away from the chemicals and stay organic, but she also seemed to be involved in the darker side of her cause, too. There were several people who were suspicious. I honestly had no idea about the solution until the reveals began at the end. I confess I was more caught up in the hauntings at the house and cemetery, Keli’s romance, and her times alone and with others who were Wiccan.

I found it moderately engaging and I might pick up another book from the series because all in all it was rather entertaining. For those looking for a mildly spooky paranormal cozy mystery, maybe give this one a go.

I rec’d this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.


Links Blue Horizontal


AUTHOR: http://jenniferdavidhesse.com/index.html

PUBLISHER: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/33159

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Samhain-Secrets-Wiccan-Wheel-Mystery-ebook/dp/B077X1D4BB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1539408383&sr=8-1&keywords=samhain+secrets

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/samhain-secrets-jennifer-david-hesse/1127581846?ean=9781496717719#/GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40031738-samhain-secrets
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