Book: “The Witch Hunt” (Jonny Roberts #3) by Alexander Lound
Publishing Info: Self Published, February 2021
Where Did I Get This Book: I received an eARC from the author.
Book Description: Two months on from the tragedy of the burned house, and Jonny has spent most of the long summer days in bed, hiding from the miserable rain. Ghost-hunting is in his past. After all, it has proved to be little more than a curse.
However, when his dad reaches out to him after an eighteen-month absence, Jonny can’t hide his fury. He also can’t say no when his father asks him to stay at his new home in the quaint, little village of Peene. Maybe it will heal the hurt between them. At the very least, it will take his mind off Grantford, and his haunting nightmares.
But, when he realizes ‒ feels ‒ that all isn’t quite right with his dad’s new partner, Bella, he has no choice but to turn back to his ability. To uncover a grisly murder of years past. Even if it means risking another date with death…
Review: Thank you to Alexander Lound for approaching our blog and sending me an eARC of this book!
It’s always a nice day when I get a notification from an author I’ve highlighted in the past that they have a new book coming out. Earlier this year it was “Atonement”, which saw the end of the Cerenia Chronicles, and now we finally get a new story from Alexander Lound’s Jonny Roberts Series, “The Witch Hunt”. I was already thoroughly invested in the stories about teenage medium Jonny, and when you throw the mere idea of witches into that, well, you officially have me snared.
When we left Jonny at the end of “The Burned House”, things had taken a turn for the worse for our teenage medium. His best friend Stephen was dead, his girlfriend Cassy had broken up with him because of the dangers of his ghost talking abilities, and Jonny was all around feeling lost. “The Witch Hunt” doesn’t walk any of that back, and in fact puts him in an even more precarious place in that his father, who abandoned him and his mother a year and a half prior, now wants Jonny to come visit him and his new lady friend, Bella. What is supposed to be an awkward reunion turns into another supernatural adventure, as it becomes clear that there is something wrong with Bella and the local historic site that was the location of witch hunts and burnings centuries ago may have a key. I liked getting Jonny out of his usual routine for this book, as it gave him more space to explore and a different approach, given that now the case is actually personal to him. Another change is that Lound doesn’t walk back the separation from Cassy, at least not yet. I was wondering if we were going to have a tug of war of feelings, and then just a reconciliation to get things back to ‘normal’, but it’s not as simple as all that, as it is made clear that Cassy’s hesitancy and fear is perfectly understandable. This also gives Jonny a little leeway to just be on his own for this story (well, outside of his mentor/friend Aaron, who does come in, which is fine by me because I really like Aaron!), and not have to continue an complex teen relationship on top of everything else.
I also didn’t expect, but really enjoyed, the approach that was taken towards Jonny’s father’s new partner, Bella. I think that it would have been super easy for her to be the unlikable home wrecker trope. I mean, I probably would have accepted that without any questions. But instead she is a very likable person who you care about, especially when it’s clear that something is very wrong with her that is putting her, and her loved ones, in danger. While I DO think that there could have been a little more ‘responsibility’ taken on her part when it comes to getting involved with a married man, just insomuch that it’s definitely mostly on Jonny’s Dad, Bella did have a part to play in a lot of pain caused to Jonny and his mother. But that said, I liked that she wasn’t what I expected her to be, and that she was, in fact, overall a decent person.
As for the mystery itself about what is ailing Bella and where the Witch Hunt site comes into it, it was pretty solid. I don’t want to give too much away, but Lound takes the opportunity to explore misogyny, violence towards women, and makes connections between the medieval witch hunts and modern day victims of what people think women should be, and what women owe men. And while it may be true that witches as characters weren’t really a part of this as much as I had hoped, the themes of witches and witchcraft and what they have represented throughout history is definitely a HUGE piece of the story. And I really liked that.
“The Witch Hunt” is another fun ghost story from Alexander Lound! I’m so happy this series has continued and cannot wait to see where it goes next!
Rating 8: Another tense and suspenseful YA paranormal thriller from Alexander Lound, and a new focus for teenage medium Jonny Roberts.
“The Burned House” isn’t available on WorldCat as of now, but it will be available for purchase this week. For more information, go to Alexander Lound’s WEBSITE.