Who ever said that pirates and witches couldn't work together?
In his second novel set in the tiny Maine coastal town of Stonefort—where newcomers are mistrusted and old-name local families allowed to do much as they please—Hetley (Dragon's Eye, 2005) brings together the two groups to do battle (eventually) with an ancient evil they didn't quite finish off in the first book. The Haskells are Native American witches with a strong matriarchal streak whose ancestral house (called “the House”) has a personality all its own. The Morgans have their own ancient residence, a stone tower riddled with traps and boltholes, full of stolen treasure and the high-tech means to get more: They've graduated from high-seas privateering to financial scams. Last time out, the two clans (long rivals) had to band together to fight off an evil brujo, or sorcerer, and the bond never dissipated. So when a number of people turn up dead, their hearts ripped out, and sorcerous foul play is suspected, it's only logical they'd team right back up to ferret out the danger. Alice Haskell, the reigning family leader, is involved on a personal level because her lover, bull-headed Stonefort cop Kate Rowley, has been having visions of seeing her daughter—who died in the previous installment’s fiery climax—alive around town. Hetley keeps a few more strings hanging here than necessary, with far-flung subplots involving young Gary Morgan (at college and in love with a girl who has a dangerous past) and anthropologist Caroline Haskell (also at school, but called home to deal with the growing crisis). The characterizations are quite vivid, and the central conceit solid enough, but Hetley shows little interest in making his story cohere.
Quite forgettable in the end, but readers will likely come back for more, thanks to the author’s well-rendered characters.