Book Title: Sanctuary
Author: V. V. James
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Paranormal mystery
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Goodreads, Amazon UK
Plot: To Detective Maggie Knight, the death of Sanctuary's star quarterback seems to be a tragic accident. Only, everyone knows his ex-girlfriend is the daughter of a witch - and she was there when he died.I originally received a review copy from NetGalley; this is my honest review.
Then the rumours start
Bereaved mother Abigail will stop at nothing until she has justice for her dead son. Her best friend Sarah will do everything in her power to protect her accused daughter. And both women share a secret that could shatter their lives. It falls to Maggie to prevent her investigation - and Sanctuary itself - from spiralling out of control.
HOWEVER, I own the special edition hardback, and my other half owns the audio book.
[I posted an early version of this review last August.]
What did I think?
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of Vic James, author of the Dark Gifts trilogy, [Here's my spoiler-free review of Bright Ruin.] and I was super excited to hear that she was releasing a new book.
Big Little Lies Meets Witches is probably the most accurate tagline.
I swallowed Sanctuary whole. Just like that. I couldn't put it down. Gripping from the very first page, just like Big Little Lies, I had to know what happens next, and I did not stop until the very end.
While reading the last 20% I thought I'd figured it all out. The secret, the culprit, the motive, and for one long minute I felt incredibly smug, but of course, I was wrong.
Sanctuary is filled with twists and turns, but it's the characters that make it.
The cast is diverse, and everyone is complex, filled with a drive to do what they think is right.
And this is what James is so very good at: showing us people whose actions we disagree with, people we loathe, people we think are utterly wrong, and making us see why they do it.
They're not bad people. They truly believe they and their families are in grave danger, and that they're the only ones doing something about it. They believe they're doing the only right thing.
A small, peaceful community can unravel in a matter of days...and James takes it all the way to the terrifying end.
As usual in James' work, nothing is black and nothing is white. Most of these people are grey, and I believe we're all grey, and the author is a master at portraying that emotional baggage we carry with us. Those mistakes we've all made, and how they sometimes haunt us.
But we're still good people, right?
The element of magic and witches is cleverly folded into the world building, and it feels entirely plausible that if witches were real, this is how they'd operate. You're feeling tired? You can either visit your GP or you can go to your local witch. Both will be able to help you.
I can't discuss the themes in Sanctuary too much without spoiling the plot, but they're incredibly interesting: Innocent until proven guilty is a cornerstone of our society, but what happens when a mob thinks the justice system is failing them? What if a small community decides the police aren't handling things as well as they should?
From mass hysteria to mob mentality and vigilante justice, this book has a bit of everything.
It's human not to trust what we can't understand, but accusing someone of murder just because of who they are is wrong...and, of course, the president is tweeting.
I recommend Sanctuary to everyone who is looking for an interesting mystery filled with twists and turns and witches.