Friday, February 28, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: That Old Black Magic by Mary Jane Clark

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from Harper Collins, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

It's Mardi Gras season, so what better than a book featuring Mardi Gras beads on the cover,
and set in New Orleans?

that old black magic cover


Aspiring actress and wedding-cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her pastry skills at the renowned French Quarter bakery, Boulangerie Bertrand, when a ghastly murder rocks the magical city. Intrigued by the case, Piper can't help but look for the "Hoodoo Killer" among the faces around her. Could it be the handsome guide eager to give her special private tours? Or the inscrutable jazz musician who plays on historic Royal Street? What about the ratings-starved radio talk-show host? Or even the amiable owner of the local Gris-Gris Bar?

Though Piper has a full plate decorating cakes for upcoming wedding celebrations, she's also landed an exciting but unnerving role in a movie being shot in the Big Easy. When the murderer strikes again, leaving macabre clues, she thinks she can unmask the killer. But Piper will have to conjure up some old black magic of her own if she hopes to live long enough to reveal the truth.


 This is Book 4 in Clark's Wedding Cake Mystery series. You don't need to have read any of the other books, but as the stories kept getting referred to in this book, it might not be a bad idea to at least read Book 3, before this one, for clarification, if nothing else.

This book is a true homage to the spirit of NOLA and it's history of faith- I am assuming the author spent some time in NOLA and fell in love with it, making it the setting for a future book! She sets the scene well, though those of us from NOLA, will know where fiction and reality don't collide. This is another perfect 'escape the weather, afternoon read', though I have to admit you may finish it and wonder if you missed some clues along the way, and there were some things that happened that were never explained, yet seemed to be presented as meaningful when they did- coming back in book 5 maybe? As long as the reader is going to read that book, it's ok, but you might be a tad annoying otherwise. 

Normally I can't put down any books from Clark, but I stopped halfway, and finished this one in 2 sittings. I think I've just read too many British mysteries lately with REALLY strong female leads, and Piper seems the total opposite of them, that I sort of got bored with her, and had to put the book down for a few days, before I could finish it. But that's not to say the book is bad- she's just a different lead than ones I've been drawn too. But if you need an afternoon away, this book can provide it.

About the Author:

Mary Jane Clark is the author of thirteen novels, including 12 in the KEY News media thriller series, and one in her new Wedding Cake mystery series. A veteran writer and producer for CBS News, Clark worked for almost three decades at the network’s New York City headquarters. Her books are published in twenty-three languages. She lives in New Jersey and Florida. Clark's former mother-in-law and sister-in-law are the authors Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark, respectively. Check out her website for more.


One lucky BTHM reader will win this review copy!


Thanks for reading this post and entering the giveaway!

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