This book had been sitting on my `to be read' pile for a little while before I got round to reading it. This was partly because I'm generally not a fan of witch books, partly to do with some residual discomfort about witches due to my Christian upbringing but mostly because I tend to find witch books annoying as the reader is never aware of the totality of the witch's powers so they can often get out of a difficulty with a well-placed spell or incantation - a plot cop-out (in my opinion).
One of the endorsements of `The Thirteenth Sacrifice', indeed the top endorsement on the first page, says "one of the... scariest books I've ever read" which actually didn't encourage me either (I'm not in to scary books).
So all in all `The Thirteenth Sacrifice' isn't the sort of book I'd pick for myself (I was sent it for review). But if I hadn't read it I would have missed a really good story with strong plotting, interesting characters and more.
Samantha Ryan is a former witch, now a Christian cop trying to forget her early years when she was part of a witch coven before they were all killed and she was rescued. Her job as a cop is going as normal when she finds herself pulled into some kind of witch coven situation and has to go undercover. She had renounced all her witchcraft ways but has to reconnect with that side of her character - and with the seductiveness of the power - in order to infiltrate the coven, work out what they are doing and (hopefully) prevent it.
There's loads to like about this book. Samantha is great and we learn of the struggles within herself against the bad side of her power, although I also found her surprisingly detached about the many witches that die at her hands. The cast of supporting characters is also good and we see how many of them struggle to deal with their knowledge of Samantha's past. There's a love interest which isn't fully developed but which I assume carries on in further books in this series. The central plot, the mystery element, was very well done and I didn't guess at what was happening.
All in all this was a very enjoyable supernatural thriller, a cut above a lot of the witch stories out there. And as for Samantha's powers getting her out of various difficult situations, she herself has blocked from her mind what her powers can do so we are learning along with her and that, for this reader at least, worked really well.