Publisher: Windstorm Creative
Cast a Wide Circle is by Lesley Davis who is also the author of the Adepts of Calluna series. In each of her books, Davis creates a world of magic that flirts just on the edges of being possible. Her characters are women dealing with the ordinary world with unordinary powers.
Taryn Parker runs a successful cyber café that is connected to a friend's restaurant. What makes Taryn interesting though is that her constant companion is her best friend David. Who is dead. David was murdered and hasn't been able to "cross over," so he lingers behind to help Taryn with her other interesting activity. She receives emails from dead people who need help with finding their ways to the "other" side. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "You have mail." Taryn receives the messages on an unplugged computer; then David enters the computer to help these people find their ways.
It's this particular ability that brings them in contact with Kerrigan Archer. Kerrigan is a witch, the leader of a coven that has a problem. There is a magical chant that this coven says to keep the universe in balance and the keeper of the chant has been murdered by a radical group of monks working for "dark forces." To protect the chant, the keeper took the chant with him and now the coven needs to recover it before the universe spins out of control. The effects are already being felt as wars, murder and mayhem break out around the world. As Taryn and Kerrigan try to recover the chant, they have to deal with the monks who are trying to stop them both here and on the "other" side. The only hope they have to be successful eventually is the growing bond between the two women, but that bond may not be strong enough to overcome death.
What makes Cast a Wide Circle appealing is that Davis makes it so probable. Her witches don't run around twitching their noses to make things happen and, except for her unusual computer, Taryn doesn't appear to have anything special about her. They don't zap themselves from one place to another, but drive cars. They live, for the most part, completely normal lives. It's the realistic settings, along with the characters, that sell the story. Taryn is an improbable hero who can't seem to keep herself from getting hurt and that makes her appealing. This is not a book for those who like their stories heavy in the paranormal; however, it has just enough to make it an interesting story for most readers.