Maggie Parker is a witch but, shhh, don’t tell anyone. She and her mother, her aunt Meme, and sister Lilith are doing their best living in Kentucky and making sure their mortal neighbors don’t know about their coven. It isn’t easy with their “familiars” around. Familiars are usually an animal-shaped spirit believed to serve a witch as a domestic servant, spy and companion. Aunt Meme’s familiar is an owl named Miss Kitty, Lilith’s is a macaw named Gilbert, and her mother’s is Riule, a cat but Maggie’s familiar is a 1965 red AC Cobra classic car named Vinnie.
Each witch has to have a life’s journey and Maggie’s is to work as a spy with a little known division of Interpol called SKUL, Secret Keepers of the Universal Laws. The fact that her partner at SKUL is hunky Mick Jasper doesn’t hurt matters one iota. Mick does suspect that something is a little different about Maggie and her car. He’s seen things that Maggie won’t explain and when Maggie tried to put a spell on him to erase what he saw the spell didn’t take. Uh oh.
Maggie’s new assignment with SKUL is to pretend to be married to Mick so they can go undercover and investigate illegal gambling in the race horse industry. She has to somehow get close to the wives of the gamblers which is is hard to do since the wives don’t seem to like her. Maybe Maggie will try a little spell to get on their good side even though her coven does not want their members ever using witchcraft.
Another problem is that Maggie sort of likes Mick. Okay, she really likes him and is very attracted to the man. Her family on the other hand, is not thrilled with Mick and would like nothing more than for him to disappear. Even Vinnie the car hates Mick and has no trouble letting Maggie know his feelings.
The gambling investigation, while at first might have been fun, soon gets quite dangerous. Well, maybe not so dangerous to Maggie since she can twitch her nose, wave her hand, and get herself out of a dire predicament but the same can’t be said for Mick or the horses. Working for SKUL is not going to be easy for her but Maggie plans on doing her best since this is her life’s journey. And maybe she can get Mick to take an active interest in her without using her witchy powers.
Alright, I’ll admit it, “Betting Off Dead” by Tonya Kappes is one cute book. It was fun reading about all the powers Maggie and her family have and are yet forbidden to use. Every so often they cheat, I mean, I can totally understand waving your hand and putting yourself in your room on the third floor without climbing all those steps, and why bother physically cleaning up when you can move your finger and the house is spic and span without breaking a sweat? I want those powers.
The SKUL plot was interesting except I really don’t like it when the main male in a book is perfect and good looking. Does that really happen in real life? Nope, but that just may be why it happens in fiction.
The characters are very entertaining too especially auntie Meme and Vinnie the car and there’s a little sub plot about a mortal who loves Maggie and knows about her powers. His love does cause a problem with her investigation and I liked how Ms. Kappers weaved it in.
I had fun getting to know Maggie, her family, and familiars and would love to read more about them. But I don’t want to get too close because aunt Meme has a short temper and she might turn me into a frog.