Jinx High by Mercedes Lackey
Jinx High (1991) is the third novel in Mercedes Lackey’s DIANA TREGARDE trilogy, following Burning Water and Children of the Night. This series stars Diana Tregarde, a romance novelist and witch who protects humans from supernatural harm. The novels and short stories in this series can be read in any order.
In Burning Water we watched Diana catch a serial killer inspired by an ancient Aztec god and in Children of the Night she confronted vampires that were sucking the life out of people in her city.
Now, in Jinx High, an old friend asks Diana to visit him in Tulsa so she can help mentor writing students at a local high school. While she’s there, she discovers that there’s a powerful sorceress in town. She’s masquerading as one of the students at the school and she’s already killed at least one of her classmates. Diana must find and stop her.
Visiting an upperclass high school where most of the students are over-privileged and under-supervised is never a fun plot for me. I don’t like those kinds of shallow characters and I hate that kind of angst, melodrama, and destructive behavior (e.g., getting drunk, taking hard drugs, reckless driving, etc.). And when one of these high school students is really a centuries-old vampire / sorceress / succubus / whatever who is acting like a drunk, rash, horny teenager, I really have trouble suspending disbelief. The plot of Jinx High is more interesting than the plot of the last book, Children of the Night, but sadly, it’s like a cheesy horror movie — completely over the top. It’s pretty sleazy, too.
Jinx High also has some pacing problems. There are long periods of teenage brooding and some of the scenes go on too long. At these points I increased the playback speed of the audiobook so I could skim through them. Traci Odom does a great job with the narration of the audiobook (Tantor Audio), but it wasn’t enough to save this story.
On the positive side, Mercedes Lackey does a good job addressing racism and AIDS in the DIANA TREGARDE trilogy.