Ghost Garages: A Boston Technowitch Novel
by Erin M. Hartshorn

Alot of urban fantasy featuring witches, vampires, werewolves (the mainstays of the genre) focus on young, single, romance-seeking main characters with lots to learn about power and the fantastical world and a (sometimes nonexistent) dayjob that leaves them basically with no distracting duties or responsibilities.

Not so for Pepper, the main witch character of Ghost Garages. She’s got six year old twins, a baby daddy who is upsetting their finely balanced relationship, a rival assistant manager at the coffee shop where she works angling for the manager job….and oh yes, the rest of the Boston area witches blaming her for a sudden influx of hate and anger in the shape of ghost girls appearing in parking garages.

Don’t get me wrong, I love urban fantasy as a genre, but it’s refreshing to come across this particular manifestation: a woman who’s discovering her own power but also has to juggle which twin picks the nightime books and how she’s going to get a painting deposit back from a sketchy contractor.

The ways Pepper uses her electromagnetic powers was fun…and the story mostly focused on mundane details of life in a non-apocalyptic way, until it was disturbing (the source of the ghost girls) and hints (in the shape of trolls in the T and mystic pronouncements by her mentor) of greater issues.

Details of Boston were great, but at time I felt Pepper was reacting to the ghosts and people getting angry as if this were a small town and she knew everyone and where everyone lived, so i was left without a sense of Boston as a city and frustration of figuring out where evil lurks in a big place. I also was a bit hazy on the way magic worked, not one of my favorite things. It seemed people could do just about anything and “draw power” from each other and various sources. Sometimes Pepper’s a little silly about her power; like trying to make her cell phone a battery when even I knew that wasn’t going to end well for her cell phone.

And of course, I wanted more Haris. I mean who wouldn’t? Haris was an awesome romantic foil and I loved how Haris provided the “sparks” to help defeat some evil. But the pulling away after being a whole-hearted stalker didn’t ring true to me, and neither did Pepper’s insta-attraction followed by kind of thinking about Haris not at all through most of the book except when Pepper needed Haris. Definitely needed more thinking about Haris.

I’ll most likely move on to the next book in the series, there’s a few clever little cliffhangery developments at the end of the book in regards to Pepper’s children and Pepper’s best friend that I hope will reveal more ties between the magic and the mundane parts of Pepper’s life.