Mindy Klasky

Books: Fantasy |Mystery

Magical Washington: Fright Court (2011), Law and Murder (2017), High Stakes Trial (2019)

Jane Madison: Girl's Guide to Witchcraft (2006/2015), Sorcery and the Single Girl (2007/2015)

Magical Washington

Fright Court (2011)

Sarah Anderson has been bouncing from job to job for years now, while her best friend is settled down with a rewarding job and what seems to be a perfect family. But Sarah's first night on the job she discovers that nothing on the Night Court is as she expected–vampires exist and part of her job is to be court clerk for not just the human night court, but for a vampire judge and other supernatural creatures.

"Those old movies were about fear of the unknown, about science taking over our lives. Everyone was worried about the atomic bomb, and nuclear radiation, and how we were all going to die a million different ways. The monsters were sort of victims, themselves. I always felt terrible when they died."

I think what I enjoyed most about this book was how thoughtful and thorough the world-building was, and how Sarah found her place in that world. There were several times when I was kinda giving the story the side-eye, but then CHUNK CHUNK CHUNK things all feel into place.

I was quite impressed.

Publisher: Peabridge Press

Rating: 8/10

Law and Murder (2017)

The second book finds Sarah preparing for the trial of the vampire who attempted to kill her–but it seems that her status in the supernatural world still isn't set, and that may well affect the trail–and Sarah's life.

"Legend says Sekhmet's retainers invented beer to keep her calm. For the rest of us, restoring order helps."

I didn't like the mystery quite as well in this story as I did the first, mostly because the end felt rushed. We have all this running and hiding and buildup, and then suddenly after the battle all the legal issues are resolved. Really? The legal issues are fixed that quickly? That seems… wrong.

On the other hand, the world-building is still fantastic, as Sarah continues to discover her powers and learn her place in the world she didn't previously know existed.

Publisher: Book View Cafe

Rating: 7.5/10

High Stakes Trial (2019)

Sarah has been indicted for the murder of the judge for whom she worked, and her boss has disappeared off the face of the earth, leaving her with a temporary security head who uses dog breeds as curses.

Sarah has been seeing Chris, the head of the local sphinxes , but the Den doesn't trust her, and still doesn't truly believe she is really a sphinx, so along with everything else Sarah begins a quest to discover who her true father is.

The start of this book fixes one of the problems I had at the end of the second book, but did have problems of its own, namely, how quickly everyone turns on Sarah after she is indicted. Yeah, of course her temporary boss was looking for excuses, but the other members of the Night Court? Humph.

There were bits of the story and world building that I loved.

But there was a third category of cases— actions against individual items. It sounded strange, but a case could actually be filed against an individual parcel of land.

Not long ago, there'd been a series of actions against an absentee vampire's multiple sanctums, when the missing occupant had ostentatiously failed to safeguard the properties from prying mundane eyes, putting the entire Empire at risk of discovery. A gnome's axe had been sued when it was left behind after cutting down a dryad's grove, with no elemental owner in sight.

Not many of those cases were filed in any given year. Their names were odd: The Clans of the Eastern Empire v. A Cast-Iron Witch's Cauldron. The Clans of the Eastern Empire v. 1527 Massachusetts Ave.

I love the whole idea of that.

The mystery was okay, but I had multiple problems with the final show-down–and the lack of long-term fall-out from it.

Publisher: Book View Cafe

Rating: 7/10

Jane Madison 

Girl's Guide to Witchcraft (2006/2015)

Jane Madison is a research librarian at a private library, which has been struggling to make ends meet (by such ventures as selling expensive fancy coffees), but things seem to have gotten worse when her boss tells her that her salary is being cut by 25%–but in compensation she'll get to live rent free in the little cottage on the property.

In this cottage Jane discovers a stash of books and that she is a witch–and that being a witch comes with rules and responsibilities.

And a warder.

"So you were just sitting there… where? Collecting astral unemployment?"

David grimaced at the word "astral." "Let's just say I was on assignment."

"On assignment?"

"A detail."

Jane is somewhat aggravating, in that she makes really really bad life choices. Choices that seem obviously terrible, such as turning her Imaginary Boyfriend into a real boyfriend.

I did really enjoy Melissa and her first-date horror stories. Those were pretty hilarious.

"Michael-the-doctor is a proponent of natural digestion."

Even Clara was taken off guard by that one. "Natural digestion? As opposed to what? Swallowing a bunch of enzymes and jumping up and down?"

It wasn't that the story was bad, but several things came out of left field (like Clara), and Jane was just a complete idiot over Imaginary Boyfriend. As someone who made loads of poor dating choices in her youth, it felt like at her age Jane should have been making better choices.

But, I did read book two.

Publisher: Res Ipsa Press

Rating: 7/10

Sorcery and the Single Girl (2007/2015) 

Jane is slowly learning how to use her powers–but it turns out she doesn't have much time, because the local coven is going to test her, and if she fails, they take all her books, tools, and even her familiar Neko.

Jane was even more aggravating in this book that she was in the first. Still terrible judgement with regard to men, and her desire to fit in with the coven led her to argue with her childhood best friend and make LOTS of really stupid decisions.

This is what really annoyed me.

And we left without paying the bill. And she inadvertently taught me a dark magic spell that nearly knocked out my warder and made my familiar quiver in the basement with terror.

That is so very no okay, I lost a great deal of respect for Jane right then and there. I don't care how much she wanted to become part of the in group, that's someone's paycheck and livelihood she was messing over right there.

And she refuses to listen to David (her warder) about the possible dangers of what she's doing. (And David is somewhat of an ass for not being more open about the dangers of the coven.)

Yes, there was somewhat of an out for that–a spell laid upon her–but it was still stupid and aggravating. I really wonder about the rules of magic in this world.

So: aggravating.

Publisher: Res Ipsa Press

Rating: 6/10