A Battle of the Bands brings a magical music menace to Nightshade, and Jessica and her friends must stop it.
Jessica's romance with Dominic hasn't exactly progressed smoothly since Dead Is a Battlefield (2012). Everyone swears he's still head over heels for her, and she definitely is still into him, but Dominic's reserved treatment leaves Jessica baffled and boyfriendless. While Jessica and friends peruse a music collector's estate sale, a mysterious thief absconds with a not-for-sale flute rumored to have belonged to the Pied Piper of Hamelin. The peppy prose pushes on to the main show, Nightshade's first Battle of the Bands. Dominic's band, Side Effects May Vary, finds competition in an out-of-town act followed by a large entourage of obsessed fans—Hamlin, fronted by Brett Piper. When the most competitive bands start losing members to recklessness and bizarre accidents, Jessica must not only get to the bottom of the mystery, but also step into the spotlight as a musician herself. The guest judges act as additional suspects, partially countering predictability in the mystery. With Jessica and Dominic back in a will-they-won't-they holding pattern, female friendships are free to develop.
A solid continuation with an ending that promises further growth in characters and overarching storylines. (Paranormal suspense. 10-16)