Book Review: Payback’s a Witch by Lana Harper

Author: Lana Harper
Title: Payback’s a Witch
Narrator: Jeremy Carlisle Parker
Publication Info: Berkley (2021)

There’s a lot going on in Payback’s a Witch: it’s a story about confronting one’s past, a comedy about a witchcraft competition and a revenge plot, and a sapphic romance!  Whew!  The story is set in the magical town of Thistle Grove, Illinois, home to four witching families and a brisk Halloween industry.  The novel is narrated by Emmy Harlow, a member of the least prominent of the four families, who has abandoned her magical powers and fled to  Chicago for better opportunities.

The novel begins with Emmy returning to Thistle Grove after a long absence to serve as the judge of a competition among the scions of the other three families to determine the next leader of the community.  Control of the town is typically held by the prosperous Blackmoore family, whose scion Gareth broke Emmy’s heart in their teen years.  Emmy’s best friend Linden Thorn and the alluring Talia Avramov, who’ve also been jilted by Gareth, team up for a revenge plot against the Blackmoores.  Emmy and Talia also begin stirring up a romance.

With hints of Harry Potter and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Payback’s a Witch is nonetheless an original concoction and wholly fun mix of comedy, romance and adventure.

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Rating: ***1/2