Witches be Snitches- a review of Sanctuary by V.V. James

Of course my first crime solving detective novel has an element of fantasy in it. And I knew this one would be tame in terms of the crime side. But nothing else was tame.

The town’s heartthrob quarterback becomes the victim of this small, uneventful town’s latest murder case. Detective Maggie Knight leads this investigation, in which the daughter of a witch is accused of murdering him via witchcraft – a state offence that could land her on death row if convicted guilty. This sets the girl’s mother against the victim’s mother, as the two fight first to keep each other together then for the rights of their own children. Maggie must solve this case before the town of Sanctuary goes to war over the death of a quarterback while a lot of secrets her kept to the grave.

The drama in this novel was to die for. Mothers at war over each others believed wrongdoings as they defend their children creates so much tension and conflict it is crazy. This is why you don’t mess with mothers and mother figures. They will do anything for their children, and this book showed that like nothing else. The emotions you feel from both Sarah and Abigail evoke inside of you as well, as their perspectives dominate the book like nothing else.

I don’t have much to say about the crime solving side with this being my first dive into the genre in a bookish sense. The laws that involved witchcraft in this almost magical realism kind of world were fascinating, but the interest was blocked by cliches. Chiefs trying to stop a case being solved, the way information got discovered and how the detective was the last person to find a key puzzle piece which we knew from other perspectives. Maybe Maggie was a poor choice of a POV character, because while i wanted to find out who did it her chapters held the least interest.

This is gonna be a theme for a lot of upcoming book reviews including this one; the third act disappointed. I looked at a lot of reviews saying that the third act was the only part of the book they liked, but I am the opposite. I am very much a person who goes into a book with expectations and expects the blurb to deliver the vibe. The blurb did, but the first two acts didn’t hint at the climax being so different to the rest of the book.

Pair that with an ending that goes against so much in the actual book. That ending made me so freaking confused. It is natural for there to be red herrings within a crime novel, but nearly every piece of evidence in this book wound up as a red herring based on the actual ending and what we actually find out happens by the end of the book. It almost defeats the point of what was fought for.

Sanctuary gets a score of 3/5.

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