(Ophelia & Abby, #6)

Cupid has cast his spell on good witch Ophelia Jensen. The practical, pragmatic, law-abiding librarian has just begun letting down her hair with Stephen Larsen, the author of some of the most scandalous crime exposés ever written. It's a match made in the stacks—until the would-be lovers take a quiet countryside stroll, and shots ring out.

A murderer, not magick, made Stephen disappear—and Ophelia might be next. The sheriff warns her and her grandmother Abby not to meddle, but after another shooting leaves them shaken the women can't help but get involved. A sinister stalker is slowly drawing closer to Ophelia, and she'll have to summon all her powers to prevent herself from ending up six feet under.

The author seems to like experimenting to keep the series fresh. Sometimes she takes them out of town, sometimes she introduces new characters like adopted daughters and eccentric aunts, sometimes she shakes up whether they're investigating a murder or something else, and in this book she does some kind of weird merge with flashbacks of a woman in Nazi times who has to say goodbye to a love interest.

The backstory was interesting but it's not a personal preference for me when an author does that. Color me uncreative, but I don't care for keeping track of two main characters with two different time lines. I'm woefully limited that way. That aside, the back story worked to tie together the beautiful and somewhat surreal introduction to this one where Ophelia acts completely un-Ophelia like with a new man.

The mystery is different in that she is not trying to solve a murder or find a missing person, but instead is trying to solve an attempted murder and find out the story of the her visions and what her new suitor has been up to. It has potential to be fascinating, but falls short at times, missing a step and curtailing by being too calm and with no big twists or shocks. For the past life, that one turned out to be emotionally moving and actually heart-wrenching.

Even if the author changes up the story by trying new things, she keeps the same old mannerisms that drive me bonkers - such as exaggerated hand and head movements for the main characters as they decide things, wonder things, and point out things. The intelligence is only so-so for Ophelia and she goes from lukewarm to friendly for her personality. Abby is still not my favorite as she's too over the top cliche, but Tink is an enjoyable delight as the introduced daughter of her own unique powers.

Overall this is an enjoyable book if you're a fan of the series, but it falls short of the others, missing something I can't put my weak detective finger on.