I just finished “No Rest for the Wicca” by Toni LoTempio, on the Kindle (which I am loving more and more each day). It took me three days to finish it, but I would have been done sooner if life hadn’t gotten in the way. Darn life, always interrupting my reading time! “No Rest for the Wicca” is an urban fantasy, and like most urban fantasy authors, LoTempio has created her own world in which magic and paranormal creatures are common place, especially in a town like Central City, where there are almost as many witches as there are humans. She takes great care to bring her version of the world to life in the reader’s mind without ever getting bogged down in details.

Morgan Hawkes, the main character, has half-Wiccan blood (and she’ll make sure you remember the “half” part many times, to the point where even her partner makes a joke about it) and half bokur blood (voodoo). A former homicide detective who lost her partner in a rather tragic way that she believes was her fault, she now spends her work hours busting ghosts. She refers to herself as a ghost whisperer at times, but make no mistake, she is not your Jennifer Love Hewitt CBS drama ghost whisperer. She’s a bad ass character with a bit of a chip on her shoulder, but at the same time displays a deep-down vulnerability that makes her likable.

Cole St. Cloud, the partner/love interest, is an Inheritor, a species with vampire blood but, as Morgan points out, somehow more human than a human. Like most vampire characters, he’s hot, cocky and a bit narcissistic. Unlike most vampire characters, he’s way more open-minded than our oddly (and endearingly) old-fashioned heroine. I liked that LoTempio didn’t make him the typical stuffy type with outdated, sexist mannerisms.  Bonus- no brooding, “woe is me, I’ve lived so long” nonsense that permeates so many best-selling vampire novels. Because this is partially a romance book, of course things heat up between Cole and Morgan. But the romance takes backstage to the real plot line, the murder mystery.

Someone (or group of someones) is murdering pure-blood witches in a ritualistic fashion throughout the city, building momentum to grand end-game that reveals itself throughout the story. Morgan’s unique knowledge of both Wicca and voodoo, combined with her ability to hear the dead, makes her invaluable to the investigation. Although she refuses to help at first, an incident changes her mind and she joins the hunt to find the killer, which sends her undercover as a student at the local university, where she takes a variety of classes that revolve around magic and voodoo in an effort to get closer to key suspects. LoTempio uses these classes to explain the majority of the magical theory and practice presented throughout the book, and she does it flawlessly, making the information come from the professors’ lectures rather than trying to shove it in as an aside throughout the book. I love the way her professors teach, I wish I had more like them when I was in college! LoTempio’s dialogue really shines during these scenes.

The descriptions and prose throughout the book are nearly flawless, definitely one of LoTempio’s strength. She describes everything in just enough vivid detail to pull you into the story, but not so much that you’re secretly begging her to get on with it. “No Rest for the Wicca” is a quick, fun read. Getting to the heart of the story took a little time, I did feel the beginning was just a little slow, but once the story started moving, it kept up the pace nicely. I look forward to seeing what LoTempio has to offer in the future.

“No Rest for the Wicca ” is available for .99 on Amazon.com, so check it out if you enjoy urban fantasy or paranormal mysteries.