“Strange Sight – Essex Witches #2” by Syd Moore

Slightly disappointing sequel

“Strange Sight” follows on immediately after “Strange Magic” which introduced us to Rosie Strange just as she inherited a museum to Essex witches. This time, Rosie is investigating a rather spectacular haunting of a posh restaurant in the City which seems to have resulted in a brutal killing.

For me, this book didn’t live up to the promise of the first book. It was a light cosy read with a dash of Carrie-style supernatural (albeit reported rather than seen) but it was slow to start with nothing much happening in the first quarter of the book.

The main problem I had with it is that Rosie Strange seems to have lost her edge and is sometimes barely recognisable as the proudly independent, sceptical woman from Essex who made her living tracking down Benefits Fraudsters and tending not to believe in anything that needed a supernatural explanation. In this book, she often obsesses about how things look. She is constantly stealing lusty glances at her we’re-just-friends partner, or dissecting the makeup and clothes of other women or contemplating her own sartorial skill. I’m sure this is meant to be amusing but it felt like something shoved into the narrative from time to time for appearance’s sake.

The second half of the book is much stronger. There’s a real plot, with plausible sub-plots, lots of action, some comedy, some drama, some sociopolitical commentary and some great dialogue. There’s also a promising set up for the future story arc as Rosie discovers more about her families past and her own links to Essex witches.

On the whole, I’m glad I read this but it hasn’t left me hungry for more. I’ll take a break from Rosie for a while and hope that the next book is stronger and that Rosie stops pressing her bimbo button.The narration was well done, click on the SoundCloud link below to hear an excerpt.

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