Review: The Innocent Dead by Jill Nojack


It’s uh… it’s an interesting story how this book came to my attention. There was a book… and it had a narrator… and I liked that narrator but not the book, and… heh. Well, it turns out that the narrator is a pretty cool guy, and said I could have a different book. 😀 I thought this one sounded interesting. Hocus and/or Pocus-esque.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review. ;D

Natalie Taylor, High Priestess of the coven in quirky Giles, Massachusetts, just wants to stop seeing dead people. With all the elements needed for the spell now in place, she can finally complete the ritual to push the ghosts away. 

But when a body is found in Corey Woods, giving her the opportunity to prove that her long-lost love wasn’t guilty of the identical murders years ago, some of the answers she needs to clear him lie on the far side of the veil. She’s going to need help from both the living and the dead to catch the real killer.

Well, to start, there were definitely a series of events before this book that I am not privy to and probably maybe should have been at some point, lol. I’d just be sitting here, listening along when all of a sudden this book would lay some backstory on me like ‘oh, btdubs, the same Tom married to this one witch is actually the same Tom that was magically enslaved as a cat for decades, but before all that used to be married to this other witch who is like 40 years older than she was at the time. They’re just friends now though.’

Uh… okay?

‘And there was this incident with an Egyptian goddess almost destroying the town’ (or something like that. It was something suitably bonkers like this though)…


‘and such and such character from the-last-series-not-this-one is such a dick. Let’s not talk about him.’

Yeah! Fuck that guy, probably!

‘and Tom can still totally turn into a cat. So can his wife, now, apparently!’

Sweet! Unexplained shapeshifting! What a time to be alive!

I don’t have problems reading series that take place after other series like this, except I always feel like I’m missing out on all kinds of things by not having the inside scoop, so to speak. Like if I’m missing out on an event that big, are there things about these characters I would like more had I known them in the books before this book? Do they have quirks I am not aware of? It doesn’t help that Cassie and Tom, who appear to have been the protagonists of the series before this one, reference characters and events from that series like I’m supposed to know who they are or how they matter. So it was a little ‘uh… okay, I’ll roll with it.’ every time. Especially considering some of this stuff sounds uh… weird, out of context, lol.

But, I digress.

In this one, we have Natalie, Cassie and Gillian, who are witches in Massachusetts (not Salem though. No space Salem Witch Trials here! *innocent whistle*). Natalie has the power to see dead people. Specifically, lately, she sees her old lover, who she knows is dead, obviously, because his ghost occasionally tends to hang out in her vicinity, but who everyone else thinks murdered a bunch of people years ago and disappeared.

Cassie, the woman married to the cat, and Jillian, the woman who used to be married to the cat, and Natalie were just about to finish their preparations for casting a spell to make it so that Natalie’s dead-person-seeing powers go away, when a body is found, and the murder looks identical to those murders he was accused of all those years ago.

So, now the hunt is on for the real killer!

So, one of the first things in this story that happens to kick off the plot is that Cassie and Tom stumble over a corpse in the woods while out walking as cats (and definitely not doing anything else as cats), and instead of calling the cops, they call Natalie, because she needs a corpse for her ‘go away dead people!’ spell (it’s okay though, because the spell won’t mess with the police investigation, so they just need to borrow it first). Then, they use the half hour time in which Natalie and Jillian travel to them to have random it’s-cold-and-we’re-naked-because-shapeshifting sex in the woods next to that corpse they just found. Because of course they do. THAT’S AMOOOORRREEEEEEE! *smashes head into desk*

The corpse turns out to be that of the super bitchy, rich, Louis Vuitton bag carrying, Mercedes driving, impatient, super entitled lady we met in the beginning of this story when she went on an angry shopping rampage through this town. I mean, nobody in this town liked this lady (except her husband) but, we still need to figure out who killed her, even if she is pretty much Cruella de Ville with less puppy strangling.

I found I liked it more as it went. As a whodunnit, it did surprise me a few times. I always try and guess mysteries with varying levels of success, but this one is deceptively good at keeping the whodunnit an actual mystery until the appropriate time. I will admit that I did not expect this to be so, but there you go. Surprising cozy mystery is surprising!

Brian Callanan, the narrator, did a pretty great job. I feel like this sort of book is almost expected to have a female narrator, as most of the main characters are female. I mean it’s the Maid, Mother, and Crone series, after all, amirite? But, he did it in a way that never made it feel lacking. He made every character different and unique, made the creepy characters sound creepy, and the British character sound suitably British. Oddly enough, the only characters that I didn’t really like his narration were dudes. Mostly Tom. He had a really strange cadence, which may have been on purpose, I dunno. It certainly didn’t help that Tom still often talks like he’s in the 1960s, which I didn’t really like. But, nevertheless, I feel like I enjoyed this book a lot more than I would have had I read it in print.

Definitely got some of this vibe from time to time. 😀

So, conclusion, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I didn’t really start enjoying myself until well after halfway through. I still thought it was a good three star story though. 3/5 stars!


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