Review: The Witching Tree (Natalie Lockhart #3) by Alice Blanchard - .Red Wine & Books

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Review: The Witching Tree (Natalie Lockhart #3) by Alice Blanchard

           


Print Length: 330 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 7, 2021)

From Goodreads.com: Detective Natalie Lockhart gained unwanted notoriety when she and her family became front and center of not one, but two sensational murder cases. Now she’s lost her way. Burned out and always looking over her shoulder, Natalie desperately thinks that quitting the police force is her only option left.

All that changes when a beloved resident—a practicing Wiccan and founder of the town’s oldest coven—is killed in a fashion more twisted and shocking than Natalie has ever seen before, leaving the town reeling. Natalie has no choice but to help solve the case along with Detective Luke Pittman, her boss and the old childhood friend she cannot admit she loves, even to herself. There is a silent, malignant presence in Burning Lake that will not rest. And what happens next will shock the whole town, and Natalie, to the core.

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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

It wasn't until I started reading this novel that I realized I had read the first in this series back in 2019. I went back to re-read that review and remembered that there had been a few things that I hadn't cared for, but decided to give this book a chance anyway. 

Sadly, this book was not to my taste for a lot of reasons. To begin with, there were continuity issues throughout the entire book. In one chapter Natalie is given a piece of information, then a couple chapters later when a different character repeated what she already knew, Natalie acts like it's the first time she's heard it. Another stand-out moment of this is the fact that we are repeatedly told that it's been a long, hard winter (and is now March or thereabouts), but yet suddenly in a later chapter, there are lights strung up on storefronts and holiday music being played through speakers. In March? 

Another glaring problem I had with this novel is the complete ineptitude of this police force. Sure, on the outside they look okay. Doggedly pursuing different avenues of investigation and following up leads, etc. However, when vital pieces of evidence turn up missing AGAIN - they don't seem to question it. Not until much later when any solid cop would have put the pattern together and tried to do something about it. When their two prime suspects somehow are granted bail, they don't think it worth the time to keep a tail on them, causing them to go missing, and taking with them information vital to the case. 

All of those things I could have perhaps overlooked had this book actually had an ending to ONE of the THREE overlapping storylines. However, the author chose to leave it on a cliff-hanger that left absolutely nothing resolved. We still don't know who murdered Veronica or why. We have an idea of who might be stealing (and possibly planting) evidence, but no motive there either, and now poor Luke is in a coma with no answer to just how he came to be injured and found at the bottom of a ravine. As a reader, I don't mind a well-written cliffhanger as long as SOMETHING has been resolved. Otherwise, as with this novel, it just ends up feeling like a giant waste of my time. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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The Witching Tree is Available from Amazon.com

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