Rachel Morgan thinks of herself as a good person, but ever since she quit her job and started a business with two friends, circumstances have nudged her to blur the distinctions between good and evil. When it becomes necessary, she twists a curse, using black magic to help others or save herself. Her friends and enemies include vampires, werewolves, gargoyles, pixies, fairies and elves. Sometimes Rachel has trouble deciding whom she can trust. Sometimes that includes herself.

In Black Magic Sanction, Kim Harrison’s eighth novel featuring Rachel, the sexy witch must confront a charming ex-boyfriend who once again betrays her. This time Nick hands her over to a coven of so-called white witches determined to imprison Rachel forever. The coven considers a lobotomy justifiable punishment for Rachel’s use of black magic, no matter how well-intended her motives. They also have no objection to using white magic in deadly combinations in order to bring Rachel into custody. Trapped between them and her long-time enemy, the rich, powerful elf Trent Kalamack, Rachel needs all her skill and her friends’ support if she hopes to survive. The presence of her long-time crush, Pierce, a black magic witch, complicates things even more.

Written with Harrison’s trademark blend of humor juxtaposed with peril, sensuality and magic, Black Magic Sanction is sure to please both long-term fans and newcomers to the series. Harrison provides enough background to keep new readers from getting lost, without spoiling twists from her earlier books.

The character of Rachel remains one of the series’ many strengths. As she learns to deal with increasing amounts of power, she also develops trust in herself. Rachel remains vulnerable, however, especially in her personal life. She is still tempted by danger, often in the form of treacherous men like Nick, Pierce and Trent. Though sometimes considered an airhead, Rachel uses her wits and fighting skills as well as spells to defend herself and those she loves. No wonder her friends, and Harrison’s growing number of fans, stand by Rachel so faithfully.

Leslie Moïse, biblio-omnivore and novelist, lives and writes in Louisville, Kentucky.

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