A little mischief, a little magic, way down south in Texas

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2008

“Don’t Hex with Texas,” by Shanna Swendson. Ballentine Books. 2008. 292 pp. $14 paperback.
By Mary Rice Patterson
For the Salisbury Post
In “Don’t Hex with Texas,” Katie Chandler has fled the fast-paced life of her job in Manhattan and returned to a simpler one working with her family at their feed and seed story in Cobb, Texas.
She has left the sexy wizard, Owen Palmer, to battle with demons in the magical realm. Katie felt she seemed to attract evil but found some things she could not run away from and trouble followed in her home.
Her boss, Merlin of Magic, Spells and Illusions Inc., has assured her that Cobb is free of enchantment (magically speaking). This is the original Merlin of ancient times and he comes to visit her family. Now she understands her granny, who everyone just thought was a little bit crazy. She learns that people are divided into two categories, those who can do magic and those that are immune, which makes for a good balance.
The town of Cobb is being plagued by a crime wave and other devilish mischief. Evidently someone has put out a correspondence course that has encouraged many of the young people to perform magic in a get-rich-quick scheme and are robbing stores and getting away unnoticed.
When her friend comes from Manhattan to investigate, her family gets so excited and jumps to the wrong conclusion and overdoes the welcome, but no harm is done.
Shanna Swendson has plotted an intriguing and enchanting bit of fiction, figuring the rank of each magical character, mixing mystery, romance and magic as Katie, Owen and Merlin find where the trouble lies and how their powers must overcome these workers of darkness and show the bad guys when it’s bad luck to hex with Texas.
If you like magic, you will find this book a real hoot as they enlist the little people that the Irish believe occupy the woods and lakes to come to their assistance in their final battle between the good and the bad forces.
Swendson escaped the corporate rat race to become a novelist and pop culture essayist. She is the author of “Enchanted Inc.” and “Once Upon Stilettos” in addition to contributing essays to books about television series authors and novels.
Mary Rice Patterson lives in China Grove.