Well, Ms. Blackwell's done it again: She's written another book which is forcing me to pace myself so I don't gobble it all up in a few days.
While I've enjoyed her creative plots that hold together well, I think that the new characters in this story are better written than in the last Witchcraft Mystery. I've been around many Bay Area Neo-Pagans & hipsters & her good characterizations ring true. I'm finding the plot intriguing & the victim a vulnerable, interesting person. I'm loving Sailor even more, even though I'm impressed w/Lily's patience toward him. Sometimes I want to roll my eyes at him & shake him at the same time! Still, he's the perfect foil for Aidan - & vice versa. Inspector Romero's evolving character is also one I've found realistic. I know a lot of people in law enforcement and he's very reminiscent of a few I've known - wary, intelligent, cynical but determined. I've garnered similar reactions from some of them regarding my interest in the occult & I like that she doesn't make him a bumbler, a bully or macho womanizer. He, along with her closer friends, feel like people I know. And of course, there's the adorable Oscar, goblin/familiar who still manages to be a bit mysterious.
I love how the author always weaves in social justice issues in her books, as they are reflective of life in San Francisco, these hard economic times & a world rapidly changing due to technology & globalization. She intertwines these ongoing issues in a manner that is very true to life in San Francisco, using her signature humor & respect.
I also enjoy how Blackwell uses real events, places & Bay Area fixtures to set a scene, create context or just provide local color - such as the Art Deco Ball, radio station KCEA 89.1, the history snippets of The Haight, what East Bay covens are like & Fisherman's Wharf history.
Blackwell is a sensitive, creative writer with a great sense of humor & obvious respect for people that are often ignored or dismissed due to their lack of social status. She's also able to create a main character who's powerful & vulnerable, a bit socially awkward & more at home in her vintage clothing shop helping customers than as a single lady looking for the right man. I like Lily's honesty, her sometimes conflicting needs & how she's growing, often surprising herself with who she's becoming. I love "watching" Lily navigate through these murder cases, which in turn helps her better navigate her relationship w/herself & others.
All of the above makes me look forward to more books in this series, to finding out about Lily's mysterious past, her even more mysterious father & if her well-grounded life in San Francisco is exactly what she needs in order to deal with both of these mysteries.