Ossus Library Index
Fantasy Index


A novel by Cate Lawley
(2021, Kindle Direct Publishing)

Night Shift Witch, book 3

When an old acquaintance is accused of murdering a vampire, Star needs to clear her name -as the vampire community is out to kill the dragon they believe responsible.


-- First reading (ebook)
May 21st to 23rd, 2021


While enjoyable, as the author seems to be getting into the characters with fewer information dumps, this book didn’t advance Star’s murder investigation stills, as she was shown to be quite ineffective in most situations. The author left a lot of things hanging, such as the magical flares in the field, which backfired, the relationship her mentor had with the deceased, and the ex-girlfriends. Still, her relationship with Ben is solidifying, as she positively gushes over him, and we learn more about how vampires will take revenge for one of their own, even if they hate the one who was murdered. I only wish we saw Star getting more competent -at anything, as well as a real murder investigation, rather than stumbling around and accidentally finding the answer. Where are the clues, the misdirection, the false leads? Here, all of Star’s long list of suspects are ruled out early, and she lucks out by learning about fire-breathing monsters from her ex.

Spoiler review:

The meat of this story isn’t the story, it’s the characters. Star and Ben have become fun to follow, especially their love-relationship, where Ben would do anything for Star. When Star freezes, Ben picks up the slack -in either the normal or the paranormal world. He’s comfortable around vampires, witches, and even dragons, once he gets over his initial shock.

Marge the dragon shows up at Star’s new apartment, after being accused of murdering a notorious vampire -and the other vampires want revenge, no matter that the vamp was almost universally disliked. Star goes out to clear Marge’s name. Star’s position in the wizarding world is apparently rising, as she is sent the vampire body for a second autopsy, which makes the original witch who did the autopsy angry, of course. They compile a list of potential suspects, but it takes Star’s mentor and friend Camille to whittle it down to something that can be easily handled. But even the ex-wives don’t provide a good motive. It turns out the victim was a poor businessman, though he was good at making contacts.

Arriving at the funeral home to receive the body, they discover scorch marks in the nearby field, the result of dragon-fire. Marge happens to be pregnant, and is chasing mice or other food sources. It gives Star a chance to examine the dragon fire, and notice that the body of the vampire is burned by a different kind of fire. Marge’s presence is threatened when Alex arrives, but he keeps her secret, and goes off in search of the vampire victim, who might have faked his death. Star, meanwhile, goes to a pet shop where they have an underground exotic animal business. They last sold a fire-breathing salamander to the victim, which leads Star to believe he used it on somebody else, when combined with the lack of aura left in the body -something that should only happen if the victim was young, not the much older vampire.

The story is quickly resolved, as Alex finds the vampire off-screen. Star and Ben, as well as the pet-shop owner’s daughter, get to witness the birth of the baby dragon. While the story itself is underwhelming, it provides a good background to the people involved, making the book more interesting than it would be otherwise.


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