fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie ViguiéThe Thirteenth Sacrifice by Debbie Viguié

The Thirteenth Sacrifice is the first in the new WITCH HUNT series by Debbie Viguié. In it, we are introduced to Samantha Ryan, a Boston cop who comes from a traumatic past. As a child, she was raised in a coven of evil witches and was the only survivor when they accidentally destroyed themselves. She was adopted by a kindly couple, became a Christian, and has put all that behind her, but a series of sacrificial murders draws her back into the dark underbelly of witchcraft.

Samantha struggles with her conscience but eventually agrees to go undercover in Salem, posing as a witch to infiltrate the coven that is committing the murders.

Viguié does a good job of depicting Samantha’s moral crisis as she returns to practices she has shunned for many years, both to maintain her cover and to protect herself against magical attacks. Magic use is like a drug for her — the more she uses it, the more addictive it gets. While trying to keep from losing herself and her faith, Samantha must figure out what the coven is trying to do, and stop them.

The Last Grave: A Witch Hunt Novel Mass Market Paperback – March 5, 2013 by Debbie Viguie


Meanwhile, other problems have arisen. Witch hysteria seems to have arisen in the area, to the point that people are attacking suspected witches and even Halloween decorations. And she meets a man and begins to fall for him, knowing that he’d want her dead if he knew her history.

I sympathized with Samantha in her battle with her inner demons and in her fight against the evil witches.

I had more trouble, however, liking her on a more personal level. For example, she concludes that a young woman is insincere about being Wiccan based on some really shallow judgments, and later she throws a stranger to the metaphorical wolves to get herself out of a tight spot while thinking snarky thoughts about the woman’s clothes. I liked Samantha when she was facing the big problems such as elemental evil and her dark memories. I liked her less in the smaller moments that revealed more about her personality.

The Thirteenth Sacrifice is a middle-of-the-road book. The prose is simple and moves the story along at a rapid pace, and the plot isn’t revolutionary — in fact, there’s something of a retro appeal to it. It probably won’t change your life or stick in your mind forever, but it will entertain you, give you some good scares, and throw you a nice twist at the climax. If you like evil-witches plots, give this one a try.

Published in 2012. When young women start dying, Boston cop Samantha Ryan is the perfect person to investigate, for only she knows what the archais symbol carved into their flesh means. The last in a long line of ruthless witches, she grew up in a coven seduced by power and greed. And now she’s sure that bad witches have returned to Salem. Reluctantly, Samantha goes undercover-into a town obsessed with black magic, into her terrifying past, and into the dark, newly awakened heart of evil.


  • Kelly Lasiter

    KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.