Samhain Secrets By Jennifer David Hesse: Review/Giveaway

Oct 20, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Fantasy & Fangs, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Samhain Secrets along with a link to purchase the book from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.

Despite being a practicing Wiccan, attorney Keli Milanni isn’t really feeling the Halloween spirit. Literally not feeling it, as despite her client Grace Hammerlin’s fearful declarations that her new home is haunted, Keli doesn’t believe in ghosts.

mystery novelIt’s a figurative ghost, though, who returns to Keli’s life when she meets the friend of Josephine O’Malley, an aunt whom Keli never met but remained in contact with through postcards and family lore. It was during their one phone call eight months ago that Keli learned of Josephine’s connection to Sister Seeds, a non-profit environmental group who promote organic farming through seed harvests. It seems that Josie failed to pick up her friend Fredeline Paul from the airport, making her Josie’s missing status far more dire than normal. Keli always felt a connection to her aunt, who not only shared a birthday with Keli but was the black sheep of the family who left home when still a teenager. Keli remains in the “broom closet” and still hasn’t revealed her Wiccan status to her family or coworkers, and she fears facing their judgment should they know. She will never have a chance to meet her roaming Josie, though, as Keli is called during a Bar Association magazine photo-shoot to identify a body believed to be her aunt. It is an old hippie and fellow commune member who must make the visual confirmation, though, a woman who also declares that Josie had too many enemies to have been killed in what police declare to be a hunting accident.

Along with preparations for the Wicca Samhain Holiday of October 31, Keli is experiencing the very normal complications of adjusting to living together with her photographer boyfriend Wes. Their schedules are so off that they seem to be seeing one another less than when they were just dating, and communicating through notes is sure to lead to jealous conflict when Keli reaches out to a millennial hacker. Keli needs information about her aunt and her possible activism crimes, though, as Josie may have escalated her efforts in order to be a modern-day Johnny Appleseed. Keli is determined to find out the truth for the woman she always admired, but Keli’s dislike of secrets makes the arrival of her Nebraskan family extremely awkward. Although they are still in the dark over her choice of religion, they also rely on her as the puzzle solver who uses her legal mind to be the peacemaker and settle family disputes.

This continues to be a fascinating series that approaches the practice of Wicca in a very respectful and thoughtful manner. Keli knows that witchcraft is often as misinterpreted as that of Vodou, the religion followed by Fredeline and one which is often stigmatized through pop culture misunderstandings. Everyone will relate with Keli as she struggles to navigate through the new stage of her romantic relationship, as well as juggling additional responsibilities in her law firm. The arrival of a feline who seems intent on being her familiar adds levity and fun, while a possible haunted house contributes the perfect amount of spooky intrigue. This extremely well-plotted novel examines Wicca, faith, and religion from a very practical and intellectual perspective, but that doesn’t mean that this fourth in the series still isn’t genuinely entertaining and a joy to read. Keli’s future may not be predictable, but the one thing readers can be assured of is that it will be fascinating to explore.

To enter to win a copy of Samhain Secrets, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “samhain,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 27, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on iTunes and Google Play. The latest episodes are perfect for your Halloween listening!

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Wiccans and hippies? This is definitely something I would enjoy.

  2. This would be an amazing book! Hope to read it!
    Blessings, Bright and Dark
    Raven Cyndie Frontroth

  3. This book seems to have a little bit of it all and I love that cover!! New to the author and series and very intrigued!! Thank you!!

  4. I managed to borrow a copy of this book to read. Now I want to own it. I’m also looking forward to the next one in the series. Please enter me in the giveaway.

  5. Sounds like a great Halloween read. Looking forward to reading.

  6. Would love to read this series.

  7. My interest is definitely piqued! Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.


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