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Death of a Neighborhood Witch (edition 2013)

by Laura Levine

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8518141,824 (3.57)None
Member:KateBaxter
Title:Death of a Neighborhood Witch
Authors:Laura Levine
Info:Kensington (2013), Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:LibraryThing Early Reviewers, Cozy Mystery, Los Angeles, Halloween, Jaine Austen Series

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Death Of A Neighborhood Witch by Laura Levine

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Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
Review Originally Posted At: FictionForesight

2.5 Stars!

Jaine Austen and her cat, Prozac, live a pretty quiet life. That all changes when the hunk Peter moves in next door and invites her to a Halloween party. Before she can blink, she is suspected of murdering her crotchety old neighbor while at the party. Will she be able to prove her innocence? Or will one blunder after another land her in jail?

This is the first book to make me try to figure out a system for rating what I read. The writing is simplistic and doesn’t contain any real character development. There is a lot of humor, to the point where I would think this is a satire on the genre, but that’s not the intent as far as I know. Unfortunately what starts out as goofy and enjoyable turns into cumbersome repetition of fat jokes and one liners.

I’m not really sure how much Jaine weighs, and you might wonder why that even matters. It matters to me because most of the “jokes” are at Jaine’s expense for eating a lot. From cracks about thunder thighs to emotionally driven eating, the constant reference of being fat is used to such an extreme extent; over and over until it gets so predictable that you know what will be said before the character says it. I just don’t understand why an author would bash their own protagonist like that. Either she is quite large, and that’s sad to see that she has such an unhealthy relationship with food, or she is actually skinny and this is just another book perpetuating the skinny girl culture. Both are very sad premises.

The other annoying factor for me is that Jaine is such a passive protagonist. She never makes anything happen, and allows herself to be manipulated in countless situations with no recourse on those doing it to her. Her “friend,” more like the colloquial “frenemy”, sabotages her at every turn and belittles her every chance he gets. Her other friend is a woman who is about as bad as Lance. She always bids Jaine to meet her at restaurants or meals, and then berates her food choices. It seems like her friends would want to help her or otherwise support her if she were actually overweight, instead of sabotaging her at every turn. I know it seems that I’m hung up on this, but the jokes are about 75 percent of the book.

The mystery itself was pretty straightforward and boring. Someone nabbed her Ape suit at the party and murdered the neighbor, so she had to find out who it was. She actually did try to investigate things, but I wouldn’t say she was very successful. She never finds out who did it, but instead meets the killer in a final stint that ends with their arrest. And then we cycle back to fat jokes.

So if fat jokes and humor that repeats itself after the second chapter doesn’t dampen your Halloween spirit, this isn’t a bad book. I liked it in the beginning but got lost by the end. I think people looking for a lighthearted cozy mystery that focuses on Halloween wouldn’t go wrong with this book.

(www.FictionForesight.com) ( )
  FictionForesight | Apr 26, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
It took me forever to start reading this, but once I did I finished it in no time. This was a cute story (if far-fetched) with fun characters. The cat is hysterical! I'm a big fan of twist endings and this did not disappoint. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a fun Halloween read. ( )
  bookymouse | Oct 25, 2015 |
This is the first time I didn't like Lance at all. I usually find him endearing, but in this book, he was always doing things behind her back to sabotage her. ( )
  annertan | Jul 31, 2014 |
Jainie Austin is very funny and I found myself laughing out loud while I was reading. A great fun read. ( )
  kresslya | Jul 27, 2014 |
Though the solution to this mystery was a rehash of the very first book, it upped its quality somewhat. I had a nasty surprise incoming when I read a ploy ripped off Desperate Housewives, of all sitcoms! God knows what else was lifted for this messy story. What was the point of no return was the transformation of Lance Venable, the heterosexually challenged neighbor of Jaine. He was insufferable. It was supposed to bring a cute but naughty touch to the fore. But the guy was like a villain twirling a comedic handlebar moustache. I'm quite let down, but I will continue reading these manageable, small packets of books if the author keeps churning them out. Even all things considered. ( )
  Jiraiya | Nov 5, 2013 |
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When Cryptessa Muldoon, a Hollywood has-been who spends her days making enemies with everyone on the street, is found murdered on Halloween night, Jaine Austen, to prove her own innocence, must unmask a killer among a neighborhood filled with suspects.… (more)

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