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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


paperback | Kindle | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


Kindle | paperback (US)
Kindle | paperback (UK)

TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


paperback | hardcover (US)
paperback | hardcover (UK)

SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK)

IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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Kindle | paperback (UK)

PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Priest, Jack: Night Witch

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

John Coffee is a thief a thief who got more than he bargained for when he stole a magical locket from a soucouyant, the last of a breed of shape-shifting, werewolf-y, Caribbean witches who are next to impossible to kill. The Witch has been hunting Coffee ever since, looking to get her locket back but also doing her best to rip his throat out. Problem is, before he understood its significance, Coffee gave the locket to his daughter, eleven-year-old Carolina. He's been distancing himself from her since with a view to protecting her from the Witch, but now he's back on the scene and trying to warn her.

Jack Priest's Night Witch follows Coffee's battles with the Witch, high-octane fights that leave him injured and her shooting off skyward as a ball of flame. The Witch's mythology is related in the book, but we're never given her point of view. She remains an unknowable bogeyman, an Energizer bunny of a mythological demon, bent on destruction.

Because Coffee's part of the story is pretty much all action, it's less interesting than the other story Priest tells in the book, about the incipient relationship between Coffee's daughter and her classmate Arty, a persecuted kid who bravely faces the more mundane monsters in his life--school bullies and his abusive father. In the face of the danger posed by the Night Witch, as well as the bullies, Carolina and Arty's relationship develops more rapidly than it might have otherwise.

Night Witch isn't perfect: it's not clear why the guys in the boat are after Coffee at the beginning of the book; Priest's female characters seem unusually comfortable with stripping in front of men they don't know well; there is a paragraph-long political rant on page 163 that seems out of place; Arty's conflict with his father ends a little too conveniently; the mothers of both children are hands-off in their parenting to a degree that's hard to believe. But on the whole, it's a fun read, like watching an old Night Stalker episode with an appealing YA element thrown in. In fact, though it's not marketed as such, I might recommend the book to the YA crowd as well as adults, given that Arty and Carolina are such appealing characters and carry so much of the story.

(See also my review of Jack Priest's 2005 novel Gecko.)

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