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Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his scepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her deathbed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this d Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his scepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her deathbed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, marries Rocky from the Ivory Coast. Five years later, childless and with the marriage souring, they decide to visit Rocky's home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch's List - a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure... The Witch's List is the first of a trilogy.


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Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his scepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her deathbed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this d Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his scepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her deathbed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, marries Rocky from the Ivory Coast. Five years later, childless and with the marriage souring, they decide to visit Rocky's home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch's List - a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure... The Witch's List is the first of a trilogy.

30 review for The Witch's List

  1. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    EDIT: I am adding this image of a letter the author sent me today. He asked me to edit my review of this book and I am editing it to add his comments. I stand by my honest review and the fact that all reviews are subjective and I am entitled to my opinion. In addition, white guys don't get to decide what's racist and what's not. I actually laughed when he dropped Stevie Wonder and Spike Lee's names. Moreover, this author found my review on Amazon, searched the internet for me, and found me here EDIT: I am adding this image of a letter the author sent me today. He asked me to edit my review of this book and I am editing it to add his comments. I stand by my honest review and the fact that all reviews are subjective and I am entitled to my opinion. In addition, white guys don't get to decide what's racist and what's not. I actually laughed when he dropped Stevie Wonder and Spike Lee's names. Moreover, this author found my review on Amazon, searched the internet for me, and found me here on Goodreads. This type of behavior is reprehensible and I've contacted his publisher. Enjoy! I honestly almost wish I could rate this less than one star. I give most books a fair chance and generally overlook any grammatical or syntax errors I see, especially with NetGalley books or advanced readers copies. I received this book free from NetGalley/the publisher for the purposes of an honest and unbiased review, so let's get honest. This book...I just can't. The book looked interesting from the summary - I mean, what's more interesting that some religious-based ooky spooky goings-on?! Except the book really isn't about this at all. This book is a thinly veiled and really unsettling debauched tale of one man's sexual attraction (obsession really) to Black women. I'm all about loving who you want to love, but this was to the point where I was uncomfortable. The language fetishized Black women, and it included racist language that made me really uncomfortable, such as the phrase "jungle fever" repeated over and over again to describe this sexual attraction. Sure, there's a burning book and a thing with a cross and such, but these key story points in the summary end up being glossed over in the entire book. The whole thing read like a little black book: countless sexual escapades, treating women like they were worthless & just there as sex objects. At one point the main character, Sandy Beech (don't even get me started on the stupidity of that name for a main character), cheats on his wife with her cousin because his wife hadn't had sex with him for months and she was getting fat so he felt his attraction waning. The writing and tone of the story made Sandy really easy to hate, and so I did. I didn't feel bad for him at all, and I wanted him to die in a fire just like those nuns that, from the summary, it looks like the book might be heavily about, but wasn't in fact at all about. The story drags on and on about this narcissistic character and his racist language and how much sex he has without even really being a story about witches or magic or anything. Literally the twist comes in the last sentence of the book and it felt cheap and rushed. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I won't be reading the other two. It was poorly written and included lots of syntax and grammatical errors, which, as I said before, I usually ignore, but combined with the awful non-cohesive story and the one-dimensional characters, it became even worse. Quite possibly my worst read of 2016.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Withers

    I agree with the few other reviewers who say the blurb of this book is somewhat misleading. What captured my attention in the blurb was the promise of African witchcraft, and while there are some elements of this in the story, it's in no way the focus of the book. The focus is mostly on Sandy Beech, and his life as he goes through school, and then university, and his year spent in France. During this time, aside from when he's really young, the story revolves around his numerous sexcapades with I agree with the few other reviewers who say the blurb of this book is somewhat misleading. What captured my attention in the blurb was the promise of African witchcraft, and while there are some elements of this in the story, it's in no way the focus of the book. The focus is mostly on Sandy Beech, and his life as he goes through school, and then university, and his year spent in France. During this time, aside from when he's really young, the story revolves around his numerous sexcapades with many different women. Although I don't consider myself a prude, I really didn't find that this added to the story, besides to confirm Sandy's fixation on African women, which I also found completely overblown and unnecessary. Sandy is an extremely unlikeable character, no just because of his womanizing, but also because he seems to take zero responsibility for his life, or the circumstances he finds himself in, despite his poor choices having led him there. This book is also the perfect example of telling, and not showing. The author 'tells' in great detail, instead of letting the reader experience the story through Sandy's eyes, and goes to great pains to describe places in a way that made me feel like it was the author's voice coming through, and not at all that of Sandy's. There are also many typos, spelling and grammar mistakes, and if this was book was professionally edited, I would be asking for my money back. It needed a much keener eye, especially with the author's love of exclamation marks. The end was just too much for me - abrupt and in shouty capital letters, with Cairns' trademark exclamation marks to boot. If your ending is really that great, I don't see the need for the attempts at extra emphasis. Not my kind of book, unfortunately.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ian Welch

    This book is different, the underlying premise of a witches list for the most part very rarely rates a mention, although you suspect it is brewing just under the surface. It could leap out at any moment. At times, it reads like an autobiography, and at others a geographical lesson laced with information and events. The story recounts Sandy Beech’s (great name) troubled early years progressing through his life and his romantic liaisons. Marriage is not the expected bed of roses; the unexplained ev This book is different, the underlying premise of a witches list for the most part very rarely rates a mention, although you suspect it is brewing just under the surface. It could leap out at any moment. At times, it reads like an autobiography, and at others a geographical lesson laced with information and events. The story recounts Sandy Beech’s (great name) troubled early years progressing through his life and his romantic liaisons. Marriage is not the expected bed of roses; the unexplained events start to dominate. I thoroughly enjoyed Sandy’s early school days and his frequent romantic hook-ups, at times I thought the geographical data dominated, reminiscent of a travel story, perhaps at the expense of the mystical witches list. I found it an entertaining read, well written without the subtle unexplainable events dominating. It is a very believable story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer S. Alderson

    This is more of a coming-of-age story than the novel about witchcraft that I had been expecting. However, the author's style of writing and pacing kept me reading. I am glad I did! The descriptions of Scotland, France and the Ivory Coast are detailed and enticing. That's probably what I enjoyed reading most about this book. Parts of the story feel like a memoir and others are clearly fiction. That made for an interesting mix! I enjoyed Sandy Beech's journey and am curious to see where the author This is more of a coming-of-age story than the novel about witchcraft that I had been expecting. However, the author's style of writing and pacing kept me reading. I am glad I did! The descriptions of Scotland, France and the Ivory Coast are detailed and enticing. That's probably what I enjoyed reading most about this book. Parts of the story feel like a memoir and others are clearly fiction. That made for an interesting mix! I enjoyed Sandy Beech's journey and am curious to see where the author goes with this trilogy. I won this book in a giveaway and chose to review it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J.B. Trepagnier

    I'm not quite sure what to make of this book. From the blurb, it sounds like it might be some sort of supernatural suspense novel. Actually reading it, it's more like half coming of age, half travel guide. We don't hear any mention of the Witch List that the title suggests until about 65% until the book and we don't read about actual witchcraft towards the narrator until the last two pages and some of the big reveal at the end didn't actually make sense given the narrator's endless complaining a I'm not quite sure what to make of this book. From the blurb, it sounds like it might be some sort of supernatural suspense novel. Actually reading it, it's more like half coming of age, half travel guide. We don't hear any mention of the Witch List that the title suggests until about 65% until the book and we don't read about actual witchcraft towards the narrator until the last two pages and some of the big reveal at the end didn't actually make sense given the narrator's endless complaining about how his wife wouldn't put out and had gained weight. I read some of the reviews that this was sort of meant to be a coming of age story, but I really didn't like the narrator. He uses the term "jungle fever" at least 3-4 times to explain his fascination with African American women, but the way he talks about them is almost like a fetish. The entire first half of the book is him sleeping his way through various nationalities of women while complaining they are not African and asking himself why he can't like the Scottish girls in his class, which every single one is blonde haired and blue eyed. I think my big problem with the narrator was his views on not only women in general (I bought her an expensive dinner so she should put out, I cheated on my wife because she won't put out and she's gained weight) but how he talks about women of different races. It felt a little like screwing your way through different stereotypes. What I DID like about the book, aside from not liking the narrator, is that the author is clearly familiar with Scotland, France, and the Ivory Coast and paints a vivid picture for those that haven't visited. He's either spent a lot of time in all three places or done extensive research to write all three settings so well. I actually live in an area with a rich history of voodoo (hey, we got our own season of AHS). I wish this would have done more into this history of witchcraft instead of leaving it for the last few pages. Instead, this just read like a few ominous hints littered among sexual escapades with a big bang reveal at the end

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura (b00k-witch)

    I picked this book up after a local author's event, and I thought the book's main concept of a 'witches list' set initially in Scotland was fascinating. The witches list, as described by the author, is a list "similar to death note", where if you are on the list, you will die, and to this I felt that he didn't really have a strong idea of what Death Note is. I found some moments in the book chilling there were a number of scenes I found quite racist, for instance, the main character being warned I picked this book up after a local author's event, and I thought the book's main concept of a 'witches list' set initially in Scotland was fascinating. The witches list, as described by the author, is a list "similar to death note", where if you are on the list, you will die, and to this I felt that he didn't really have a strong idea of what Death Note is. I found some moments in the book chilling there were a number of scenes I found quite racist, for instance, the main character being warned against black African women because they are all devil worshipping witches with violent streaks. There were other sections that I found dragged so much I almost stopped reading, for instance he spends a lot of time in university sleeping with women which has little relevance to the overall arch of the plot and does not develop the superficial main character. Almost 70% through the book is the first mention of the Witches List, and the concept is quite weakly portrayed in my opinion. The writing style is an odd one, it has a bad case of telling but not showing and it occurred to me about halfway through that the style would be better placed in a memoir as it does not do well for telling a fantasy story. It was almost as if the author wanted to write a memoir but didn't have too much to say about his own life, so added some witches and a couple of dying nuns to it. I did skim through the last few chapters because I couldn't bring myself to read any further. The witchcraft in this novel is very poor, and seemed like the pop culture witches that simultaneously are witches and devil worshippers, sacrificing humans for personal gain, which is a story that's been told too many times.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kayla Krantz

    The Witch’s List is a combination of a supernatural story and a coming of age tale. The story focuses around the main character named Sandy Beech and we see his shenanigans and life as he graduates high school and moves onto his life. Sandy isn’t like his Scottish ancestors who have a thing for pale skin, blue eye girls. He likes African girls from the Ivory coast. After his first girlfriend, Gabriella, Sandy gets his first taste of witchcraft and what being on the wrong end of it can feel like. The Witch’s List is a combination of a supernatural story and a coming of age tale. The story focuses around the main character named Sandy Beech and we see his shenanigans and life as he graduates high school and moves onto his life. Sandy isn’t like his Scottish ancestors who have a thing for pale skin, blue eye girls. He likes African girls from the Ivory coast. After his first girlfriend, Gabriella, Sandy gets his first taste of witchcraft and what being on the wrong end of it can feel like. But that doesn’t stop him on his quest. In fact, it might just become his biggest aide yet. This was a different type of book than I was expecting. I thought it would air more on the paranormal side but it read sort of like a memoir. I’m not saying it was bad or anything, just a lot different than what the summary led me to believe it would be about. The ending of the story was actually quite sudden which caught me off guard because I was under the impression that this was a standalone book and the ending is a definite cliffhanger. After reading the synopsis, however, I’m happy to see that there will be more books and more answers in the future.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janna (Bibliophile Mom)

    The African culture is one of the cultures that I honestly know nothing about. After reading this novel, I discovered a lot about it and I seriously want to know more! According to Wikipedia, this culture is well-known for its arts and crafts, folklore, and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. And I couldn’t agree more. All these elements are present in this book, and I like how I got to have a glimpse of the African’s beliefs, traditions and preferences. This book is the first inst The African culture is one of the cultures that I honestly know nothing about. After reading this novel, I discovered a lot about it and I seriously want to know more! According to Wikipedia, this culture is well-known for its arts and crafts, folklore, and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. And I couldn’t agree more. All these elements are present in this book, and I like how I got to have a glimpse of the African’s beliefs, traditions and preferences. This book is the first installment of The Witch’s List trilogy by Andrew Cairns and the author’s debut novel at the same time. I honestly did not expect this to be so good! I was amazed by how totally hooked I was! On the day that I received my copy, I immediately started reading it and found myself already halfway through it after two hours. It is a combination of magic, love, life and series of horrifying events. To say that this book is good is an understatement; this is definitely one of my best reads this year! Synopsis Sandy Beech doesn’t believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his skepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her death-bed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, marries Rocky from the Ivory Coast. Five years later, childless and, with the marriage souring, they decide to visit Rocky’s home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch’s List – a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure… (Credit to www.goodreads.com) Setting This book brought me to three different countries, and I was fascinated by that ecstatic experience. First is in Scotland, this is where the male protagonist grew up and spent most of his childhood and adolescent years. Second is in Europe, the country where he studied for a year and eventually became the place where he settled and decided to build a family. Third is Africa, where the ancestors of his wife reside. My journey is breathtaking! I love how I was able to travel in three different places and explore everything that’s great and not-so-great about them. Characters Sandy Beech. I must admit that Sandy’s name is really funny! Anyway, I like the idea that the author presented his life in a manner that started when he was a child until the moment of his middle adult years. It’s like reading a biography, but at the same time I get to find out and unravel all the mysteries that Sandy is experiencing. As a child, he is good. Sandy as a high school student transformed from being a good boy to a naughty-ish young adult. And then from that, he became a successful man with an almost-perfect relationship. After that, well, you have to start reading this book to find out what happens next. Seriously. Rocky. She is the sweet, gorgeous and ever-loving wife of Sandy. I was surprised, and at the same time impressed by how the author made me like her character and despise her afterwards. Writing Style and Plot I will definitely recommend this book to all of my bookish friends! I am undeniably astounded with the author’s writing style. It is fast-paced. You will never get bored once you started reading it. All the mysteries that you have to unfold will have you totally hooked. I cringed over and over because of all the creepy scenes. I was mind-blown with the twist! I haven’t seen that one coming! I actually had goose bumps because I did not expect those turn out of events. I want to commend the author for three things. First, I am always into stories with the first person narration so this one nailed it! It felt as if I’m with Sandy all throughout the story because I was able to see things in his perspective. Second, the title in every chapter is really appealing! I get the chance to contemplate before proceeding with the chapters, and I was able to analyse why that specific part has that specific title. Third, I love how multicultural the story was! Discussing different cultures of people from different origin is actually new to me. As a reader who likes historical fiction as well, this is a first! Diving in a story which tackled different backgrounds is very informative and interesting. For me, that is the best part of this book. Furthermore, I kind of had a hard time with some of the words. I find them deep and unusual and looking up in the dictionary really took up my time. But overall, this is a highly recommended book! Conclusion I have three realizations: It may sound cliché’ or funny, but I think there’s nothing bad if once in a while we take into consideration or believe in on some mysterious stuff in this world. I know its 2016 already but respecting other culture’s traditional beliefs still and will always matter. Fun is good. Fun is tempting. Fun is definitely needed in a person’s life. But sometimes too much fun will lead a person to do stupid and wreck less things which in the end might cause trouble or regret. Just because we have known someone for eternity doesn’t mean we know everything about them. People are sometimes good at hiding secrets especially if they are dark and twisted. ~Janna I receive this book from SocialBookCo (www.socialbookco.com) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. You might want to check out their site for the lowest price of books. You can grab a copy of this book here: The Witch’s List

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lucretia

    I finished this book several days ago, and have been thinking about it ever since. That means it touched me, even though it wasn’t in an endearing way, it was effective. I will assume that was intended. The narrator, Sandy, was unlike any main character I’ve read. He explored every aspect about men that make me uncomfortable as woman. It was a very candid and raw look at the base motivations of that sort of man. I like to think men like Sandy are the exception, and I might be deluding myself, but I finished this book several days ago, and have been thinking about it ever since. That means it touched me, even though it wasn’t in an endearing way, it was effective. I will assume that was intended. The narrator, Sandy, was unlike any main character I’ve read. He explored every aspect about men that make me uncomfortable as woman. It was a very candid and raw look at the base motivations of that sort of man. I like to think men like Sandy are the exception, and I might be deluding myself, but I’m running with that. That said, I was still thinking about Sandy, and the women he encountered long after closing the book. I actually made more of a connection with those secondary characters and I think that might be the case for most women. The supernatural element wasn’t as strong as I had hoped, but it was absolutely fascinating. I do hope there will be more exploration of the African magic in future parts. It was evident the author did research and was well version in the area. The setting was easy to fall into and I got a real feel for the culture. Despite my disconnect with Sandy as person, I’m looking forward to the next part of this journey with him.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jaci Miller

    I do love a good book about witch’s whether fantastical or historical so I was thrilled when I saw the title of this book and intrigued with the image on the cover. I assumed that this book might detail some old-world voodoo-style witchcraft, that is dark, ritualistic and vengeful. Unfortunately, it was none of these. The blurb was misleading, as the story never really developed into anything remotely magical or ritualistic, leaving me disappointed. As this is the first in a trilogy I am hoping t I do love a good book about witch’s whether fantastical or historical so I was thrilled when I saw the title of this book and intrigued with the image on the cover. I assumed that this book might detail some old-world voodoo-style witchcraft, that is dark, ritualistic and vengeful. Unfortunately, it was none of these. The blurb was misleading, as the story never really developed into anything remotely magical or ritualistic, leaving me disappointed. As this is the first in a trilogy I am hoping that the magical elements of the “Witch List” become a more prominent feature in the remaining books and that the main characters sexual escapades diminish. The story follows the main character, Sandy Beech, who is a bit of a sexual predator with a penchant for women of color. I found him to be a somewhat one-dimensional, unlikable, and egregious character and one that I had a difficult time connecting with. The story line of the book seemed flat as well, there were no significant plot events or character arcs, and what conflict there was seemed to revolve around Sandy and himself; an internal struggle with rejection and revenge and how he viewed those involved. While I am a big supporter of literary freedom, I suspect this book will initiate some negativity regarding its subject matter, its representation of women and women of color, especially with the current societal climate. While Cairns novel was not really what I expected nor was it something I particularly enjoyed, I do believe that it will find its niche market with readers who appreciate bold and graphic content by an author who is clearly unafraid to challenge literary and cultural norms.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Romero

    Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his skepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her death bead, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, m Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his skepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her death bead, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, marries Rocky from the Ivory Coast. Five years later, childless and with the marriage souring, they decide to visit Rocky's home country. Sandy is drawn into a world of strange beliefs and practices: he finds out about the Witch's List - a list of people destined to die, and is attacked by various animals starting with a ferocious dog in Abidjan. He delves further and further into the realm of African witchcraft, but the horrific truth remains obscure... The Witch's List is the first of a trilogy. The description of the book and the cover hooked me when I was asked to read and review this book. "Once you're on the Witch's List, you are as good as dead." That was the best hook for me! Sandy is living and going to school as a normal Scottish lad. Not so popular, but good at hiding from the bullies. This is where he discovers an old book about witches and black magic. He and his friend are really more interested in the sexy pictures but one day decide to test the book against the Bible. When the book catches fire, Sandy is not quite sure what to think. As he goes off to school in France, he falls hard for a beautiful African girl. Even though he has been warned by the nun, Bernadette and others to stay far away from African women, he just can't. He falls in love and marries what he thinks is the love of his life. Until a trip back to the Ivory Coast to visit her relatives. From here things took a strange turn and I am really glad to hear this is a trilogy as I had a lot more questions! One of the things I liked best about Mr. Cairn's writing was the use of the every day Scottish language. Sandy and his friends talk exactly the way they would in their part of the world and I enjoyed that. What a really good book for us history buffs too. We wait impatiently for the next one!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark Kasniak

    Andrew Cairns wove himself a uniquely strange tale in, “The Witch’s list” an exotic story that dives deep into the darkness of African witchcraft, and I absolutely loved this story! Mystery, murder, and taboo sorcery all rolled into one. The book starts out in the 1980’s with the introduction of its main character (Sandy Beech.) While Sandy is in high school, he gets his first taste of witchcraft when a strange event happens to him and a friend in the school’s library. Since that event, Sandy m Andrew Cairns wove himself a uniquely strange tale in, “The Witch’s list” an exotic story that dives deep into the darkness of African witchcraft, and I absolutely loved this story! Mystery, murder, and taboo sorcery all rolled into one. The book starts out in the 1980’s with the introduction of its main character (Sandy Beech.) While Sandy is in high school, he gets his first taste of witchcraft when a strange event happens to him and a friend in the school’s library. Since that event, Sandy manages to fall in love with an African girl named Gabriella, and together the two of them travel to Africa where another strange event concerning witchcraft happens to Sandy involving Gabriella’s cousin. Moving forward, Sandy’s relationship with Gabriella falters and as a result, Sandy spends most of his college years and the subsequent years following college in and out of failing relationships. Ultimately, Sandy meets another African girl by the name of Rocky and their love blossoms. Sandy and Rocky marry, but as the years go on, even their relationship begins to wilt. They move from Scotland to Paris, and eventually spend time in the Ivory Coast where Rocky’s family is from. While visiting Rocky’s relatives, Sandy learns more about the witchcraft that the locals seem to believe heavily in, and learns of “the witch’s list” which is something you do not want to find yourself on; anybody on the witch’s list ultimately meets an early demise. Accidents and injuries, terrific scenes involving cockroaches and crabs are all things Sandy has to deal with while he comes to grips with whether the witch’s list is real or not. This story is exciting and at times gritty, and I loved how Cairns developed his characters and how he slowly built the plot of the book. Descriptions of places, customs, and foreign lands were top-notch and really helped to build an image of rural African life in my mind. For the most part the book flowed nicely and didn’t get bogged down being somewhat on the lengthy side; the book’s lengthy worked perfectly for this type of story. In the end, if you’re a fan of witches and witchcraft, complex relationships, and adventure to foreign lands, than you’ll love the witch’s list, pick it up, you will not be disappointed. Great job, Andrew Cairns!!!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Stanley

    Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite “Once you’re on the witch’s list, you’re as good as dead.” Andrew Cairns' novel, The Witch’s List, is a beguiling supernatural novel that follows Sandy Beech through childhood into his adult years. His attraction to exotic black women lures him into the dark world of witchcraft. Peculiar things happen when his girlfriend’s cousin casts a spell and he becomes ill. Sandy ignores the warning of a dying nun and marries Rocky, another woman from the I Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite “Once you’re on the witch’s list, you’re as good as dead.” Andrew Cairns' novel, The Witch’s List, is a beguiling supernatural novel that follows Sandy Beech through childhood into his adult years. His attraction to exotic black women lures him into the dark world of witchcraft. Peculiar things happen when his girlfriend’s cousin casts a spell and he becomes ill. Sandy ignores the warning of a dying nun and marries Rocky, another woman from the Ivory Coast. They visit her homeland where Sandy learns about the nonconforming culture and witchcraft. He observes how a few persons suddenly become ill, and the superstitious reactions of others who believe the sick were on the witch’s list. Sandy meets a strange old woman in the woods who warns him of danger, but it is only after returning home that Sandy realizes he’s on the witch’s list. Andrew Cairns writes convincingly and The Witch’s List is a compelling dark story. Its protagonist, Sandy Beech, brings out his conflicting emotions through flowing narration. Although he is a nice person in general, Sandy’s character is weak, especially around women, and he can be manipulated into doing things he knows are wrong. The author’s writing is very detailed. I liked learning about the cultural differences that divide the Ivory Coast, as well as its intriguing black magic that still plays a dominant role in many Ivorian lives. I think the book’s cover is so appealing and appropriate. The Witch’s List by Andrew Cairns is an interesting story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Murray

    It’s not only Macbeth that has to confront witches in Scotland We learn early on in Cairn’s exploration of modern day witches, that ‘once you are on a witch’s list, you are as good as dead’. This reminded me of an old Africa-hand telling VSO volunteers at a briefing before going to an East African posting, "JuJu is a joke in the green fields of England and deadly serious in the villages of Africa”. Sandy, the hero of this tale, has a brush with the dark forces early on, when a book on witches and It’s not only Macbeth that has to confront witches in Scotland We learn early on in Cairn’s exploration of modern day witches, that ‘once you are on a witch’s list, you are as good as dead’. This reminded me of an old Africa-hand telling VSO volunteers at a briefing before going to an East African posting, "JuJu is a joke in the green fields of England and deadly serious in the villages of Africa”. Sandy, the hero of this tale, has a brush with the dark forces early on, when a book on witches and warlocks, full of graphic descriptions and sultry with sex, appears to burst into flames in the hands of school-friends at a Scottish Roman Catholic school. Later, a passion for an Afro-Caribbean girl, results in both his initiation into sex and brings him abruptly face to face with what might just be a curse. Cairns draws us into Sandy’s world by deftly weaving the mundane elements of a coming of age narrative with events that have a flavour of the supernatural. Set initially in the ’80’s, he has a good ear for the slang of the time, which changes appropriately as university is reached. The story unfolds at a steady pace, with the threat of dark outcomes never far away; the prophetic warnings of a dying nun, suggest Sandy may be doomed if he follows his lusts. And that’s tough, when you are a full blooded Scots lad!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    The Witch’s List is both a supernatural tale and a coming-of-age journey. I won’t outline the story here because other reviews have done a good job of that, but I will say that the novel reads like a memoir. It’s as if Sandy Beech and I had met at a pub and he was sharing the secrets of his life with me. Sandy’s childhood in Scotland, and his adventures in France and Africa felt real. Authentic. The weird happenings, unlikely coincidences, and hints at African witchcraft also felt incredibly bel The Witch’s List is both a supernatural tale and a coming-of-age journey. I won’t outline the story here because other reviews have done a good job of that, but I will say that the novel reads like a memoir. It’s as if Sandy Beech and I had met at a pub and he was sharing the secrets of his life with me. Sandy’s childhood in Scotland, and his adventures in France and Africa felt real. Authentic. The weird happenings, unlikely coincidences, and hints at African witchcraft also felt incredibly believable. That’s just good writing, and this is what gives the Witch’s List its power. Sandy’s encounters could be dark and gritty, and honestly, the guy wasn’t always likable. But his flaws made him human. His relationship choices and questionable behavior had me wanting to swat him on the head, at times. But that’s good. It means I cared about this guy. I cared about what happened to him, and I wanted to know where those choices would take him. I was surprised by how much I liked this story. It was darker than what I’d normally read, and it lacked the “happily ever after” I’m used to. I’m hoping the next book will delve a little deeper into the supernatural aspects, because those were by far my favorite parts. So yes, I’ll be picking up the next book in this series!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jon Zelig

    The protagonist of Andrew Cairns’ “The Witch’s List,” Sandy Beech (who ends up in relationships with an Ivoirian named Rocky Coste and another with a Kurd named Leman), is . . . problematic. As a middle-aged-white-man, I’m not much into reflexively beating on people in my own “categories.” That said, Sandy comes off as a sexist and something of a racist—of the “exoticizing” variety. The fact that he basically has more of a fetish than a preference for black women isn’t a “get out of jail free ca The protagonist of Andrew Cairns’ “The Witch’s List,” Sandy Beech (who ends up in relationships with an Ivoirian named Rocky Coste and another with a Kurd named Leman), is . . . problematic. As a middle-aged-white-man, I’m not much into reflexively beating on people in my own “categories.” That said, Sandy comes off as a sexist and something of a racist—of the “exoticizing” variety. The fact that he basically has more of a fetish than a preference for black women isn’t a “get out of jail free card,” rather the opposite. Narrators need be neither good nor appealing; they do need to be compelling, given that they “carry most of the load,” in terms of moving things forward and carrying the reader along. Negative emotions, like anger or disapproval, can make us want to keep reading. For the most part I just found myself increasingly irritated by Sandy, all but muttering “not again” with greater and greater frequency as I read on. We follow Sandy from early school days in Scotland, and Paris, to Africa as a married man, to an epilog in which we find him in middle age. The way he describes women, throughout, is illustrative, projecting that a Spanish woman has a “Latin libido,” looking forward to meeting “sexy French women”; while the phrase “jungle fever” only comes up three times, it feels like more, and he says things like, (regarding an African woman), he was “interested in the exotic fruits of her body.” There is a great deal of Sandy telling us of his passion(s). As a reader, I didn’t feel them. I’m a little ambivalent about the “background information” that we get, both as a matter of quantity—or, perhaps better said, density—and as a matter of style. If we think of a narrative as a kind of “journey described,” we might set the pole points as an impressionistic poem at one extreme and a hybrid itinerary/diary at the other. At one end, we are taking “the writer’s trip” and s/he is only minimally concerned about our keeping up; at the other, we get data-dense precision and a great deal of detail, which can suffocate the “music” and the emotion of the story. I don’t know enough about college in Scotland, or studying in Paris, or the geography or culture of Africa to assess the accuracy of the descriptions here (although I’m a little skeptical about the role of the pentagram in African Magic). But Cairns’ thoroughness came to feel more burden than benefit, the more I read. In a section that precedes a visit to French cultural site, for example, we get a list of some dozen tourist attractions the narrator has seen in his time in France. Half that number would have been more than enough. There is also an ongoing tendency toward “parenthetical clarification,” as in, “They lived in an HLM (council flat) in a small block of flats . . .” that quickly comes to feel like the narrator is giving us little theatrical explanatory asides, which, however briefly, take us away from the story and divert us into the details. What a lot of this does is blunt the emotional impact of the story. The protagonist’s adventures with women and the repeating thread of “African Magic” should hit us, should captivate us, as readers. Instead, I too often felt like I was reading slightly personalized reportage. Sandy tells us about his feelings; he doesn’t much make us feel them. I won’t spoil this, but the book takes a stab at “tying up loose ends” in the last few pages, providing us with a lens through which we can view many of the important events in the story from a different angle. For me that triggered as many questions as it resolved.

  17. 4 out of 5

    K.T. McColl

    The Witch's List is partly a coming of age story, partly (and ostensibly) a supernatural thriller. The Witch's List follows Sandy Beech through the various stages of his life -- high school in Scotland, university in Paris, and married life in Paris and the Ivory Coast. The novel does a great job of capturing the casual cruelty of high school and the often hedonistic life of a university student. The novel also excels in the vivid rendering of the various settings. While the protagonist is a sympa The Witch's List is partly a coming of age story, partly (and ostensibly) a supernatural thriller. The Witch's List follows Sandy Beech through the various stages of his life -- high school in Scotland, university in Paris, and married life in Paris and the Ivory Coast. The novel does a great job of capturing the casual cruelty of high school and the often hedonistic life of a university student. The novel also excels in the vivid rendering of the various settings. While the protagonist is a sympathetic character as a teen (he is bullied and many readers will recognize the how fraught this period can be), later phases of his life provide less to sympathize with. Often fetishistic regarding the various black women who drift through his life, he is led almost exclusively by sensation rather than sense. While this might not be entirely unexpected for a young man, he never appears to evolve, particularly given the number of decades covered in the novel. While you can accept a young man sowing his wild oats, an older, married, and self-aware man might have a qualm or two about bedding his wife's cousin. Characters that are morally ambiguous need self-awareness to invoke empathy, and while the protagonist has more than his share of the former, he has very little of the latter. The supernatural aspect that seems to be central to the narrative, based on the blurb and the beginning of the novel, is largely pushed to the margins for much of the story, only to be tantalizingly and somewhat abruptly revisited towards the end. Although the points in between are enjoyable in how they capture times and places, I found myself wishing that the supernatural premise had been more consistently and dramatically interwoven.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    It took me a while to get into the flow of this book, I kept expecting something to happen and it never really did. But the reason I gave 3 stars was because as a memoir and travel book on the author's experiences in Paris and Africa it's interesting and written well in that style. As a work of fiction about The Witch's List it lacks drama, pace and storyline. The final discovery could have been a more shocking reveal. The meeting of the fellow Scotsman in the bar could've been expanded on and e It took me a while to get into the flow of this book, I kept expecting something to happen and it never really did. But the reason I gave 3 stars was because as a memoir and travel book on the author's experiences in Paris and Africa it's interesting and written well in that style. As a work of fiction about The Witch's List it lacks drama, pace and storyline. The final discovery could have been a more shocking reveal. The meeting of the fellow Scotsman in the bar could've been expanded on and explored. Rocky's behaviour could have been developed in greater detail. I found that I didn't really care what she was up to. I stuck with the book because I wanted to give a fair review and the travel writing parts were excellent, they seemed to capture the real essence of the places visited and the people met.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Veryan

    5* THE WITCH'S LIST The story line of The Witch's list has been covered by the many earlier excellent reviews, so I'm not going to go into any detail regarding the plot here. What I will say is, that I started out reading this fascinating sounding book with a certain amount of trepidation. I have always had an inexplicable horror, almost fear of black magic, which I believe to be not only very real, but also extremely dangerous and potent - particularly the African form. Cairns tells the story in 5* THE WITCH'S LIST The story line of The Witch's list has been covered by the many earlier excellent reviews, so I'm not going to go into any detail regarding the plot here. What I will say is, that I started out reading this fascinating sounding book with a certain amount of trepidation. I have always had an inexplicable horror, almost fear of black magic, which I believe to be not only very real, but also extremely dangerous and potent - particularly the African form. Cairns tells the story in the first person and writes in such a straight forward way that I felt I was reading his autobiography - this feeling was strengthened by his authorial interjections interspersed throughout the narrative like, 'this was the 80s so no mobile phones or internet,' etc. I continued to feel this was the case right up to the final page, when I realised, or rather hoped, for Cairns sake, that it was fiction and that, horror of horrors, he himself wasn't on some evil witch's list. A fast read that keeps you gripped from first page to the last. . . . and there's more to come! Highly recommended.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Stuart

    I could empathise with the young Sandy, and his teenage peeps into Witches and Warlocks attracted by the sexy illustrations, and his story of the schoolmaster who ran a chess club for pupils and heated the laboratory with Bunsen burners. It became harder as Sandy grew up; he seemed to have a poor attitude to women. However, the story moves along at a good pace, has a strong plot, and the settings are very real, or they must have been not so long ago. Africa tends to change slowly short of a revo I could empathise with the young Sandy, and his teenage peeps into Witches and Warlocks attracted by the sexy illustrations, and his story of the schoolmaster who ran a chess club for pupils and heated the laboratory with Bunsen burners. It became harder as Sandy grew up; he seemed to have a poor attitude to women. However, the story moves along at a good pace, has a strong plot, and the settings are very real, or they must have been not so long ago. Africa tends to change slowly short of a revolution, or of course witchcraft.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Prithiv Chandar

    A colorful story that plunges profound into the obscurity of African witchcraft, and I totally cherished this story. The writer canvassed assortment of things in this book easily. The story has a decent pace to it, for me 'The Witch's List' was an entrancing read. The author has done a top job and conveyed a unique story. Definitely recommended to those who are looking for a peculiar piece to read! A colorful story that plunges profound into the obscurity of African witchcraft, and I totally cherished this story. The writer canvassed assortment of things in this book easily. The story has a decent pace to it, for me 'The Witch's List' was an entrancing read. The author has done a top job and conveyed a unique story. Definitely recommended to those who are looking for a peculiar piece to read!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Phil Sageser

    A well written book, particularly in the early chapters about school days in Britain and later as a travelogue in the Ivory Coast. While African Witchcraft provides the skeleton for the plot, it remains largely hidden. Indeed, in some ways, it is appears almost as an afterthought. The details of this story are more important than the meaning. Enjoy it for the little things.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Didi Oviatt

    A well rounded adventure! With The Witch's List, Andrew Cairns has told a unique and unforgettable tale of a white man from Scotland named Sandy. One thing that I loved about this book is that it does not center itself on one particular event or portion of the main character's life. It actually covers the majority of Sandy's lifespan. Cairns is able to cover such a vast amount of time smoothly and effortlessly. It doesn't seem choppy or as if important times are missed. There is a good flow, it' A well rounded adventure! With The Witch's List, Andrew Cairns has told a unique and unforgettable tale of a white man from Scotland named Sandy. One thing that I loved about this book is that it does not center itself on one particular event or portion of the main character's life. It actually covers the majority of Sandy's lifespan. Cairns is able to cover such a vast amount of time smoothly and effortlessly. It doesn't seem choppy or as if important times are missed. There is a good flow, it's very well written. Despite the painful bullying Sandy endured growing up, he was able to press forward and obtain an impressive education. A good chunk of the story explains Sandy's life through-out Catholic school as a young boy, then he heads to a regular Scottish school to finish out grades before he is accepted to attend a college in Paris. During this time of education Sandy has an utter infatuation for African women. His first love is in High school with a black girl from the Ivory cost. Upon getting busted by her family, Sandy experienced his first run in with a touch of black magic. The encounter with witch craft is un-nerving and only the beginning. It leaves the once unbelieving Sandy confused, curious, and weary of African Witchcraft. The conscious effort to steer clear of black African women doesn't last long. He is drawn to them on a strange almost magical level, as if bewitched from the beginning. Sandy becomes a bit of a player with the ladies while attending school in Paris. He experiences the young free-spirited lifestyle that most college students strive for. After a few non-committed or failed relationships he settles down with what he assumes to be the love of his life, Rocky. Coincidentally, she is also from the Ivory coast as was Gabriella, his first sweetheart. It is this lifelong infatuation with exotic dark beauties that brings him to Africa, wherein the remainder of the story lies. Andrew Cairns is able to successfully weave a series of dark and magical events through the entire book including death, fire, illness and more. Every event has a reason and a place. Cairns is refreshingly knowledgeable in cultures, race, geography, and even languages. There's no shortage of suspense and/or adversity. The Witch's List brings about a very realistic and eye opening feel for the raw graphic lifestyle in the heart of Africa. The ending of the book ties up all of the loose ends in a unique way that I never saw coming! I was left shocked and wanting more. There is a fun usage of Scottish slang through-out and I absolutely love the name pun. The splash of humor is just enough. The only thing I wasn't particularly fond of was that at times the pace seemed slow, and a bit like a narration. I felt like I was being told a story rather then experiencing it. A few of the very traumatic and scary events seemed to lack emotion. But, all in all, it was a great book and I enjoyed it very much!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    The premise for this book sounded fascinating. The paranormal, romance, Africa’s cultural undertones about black magic and witch craft. I picked it up, eagerly waiting to see what the book was all about, and was very glad I had gotten it from Library Thing to read and review. After reading it, I can agree it is a fascinating story, but there was a lot about it I found not quite so interesting. Sandy Beech, the main character, does not believe in the supernatural, but things make him begin to bel The premise for this book sounded fascinating. The paranormal, romance, Africa’s cultural undertones about black magic and witch craft. I picked it up, eagerly waiting to see what the book was all about, and was very glad I had gotten it from Library Thing to read and review. After reading it, I can agree it is a fascinating story, but there was a lot about it I found not quite so interesting. Sandy Beech, the main character, does not believe in the supernatural, but things make him begin to believe: burning books, a fallen crucifix, strange illnesses, a convent fire where twelve nuns burn to death, and a strange encounter with a dying nun, who gives him an ominous warning to control his prurient instincts and stay away from dark-skinned, African women. Sandy has some difficulty with this, after a year at school in Paris, where he meets and marries Rocky, an Ivory Coast native. (I found this part of the story of particular, personal interest, since I also spent a year at school in Paris years ago, and watched many of my fellow students follow this same pattern, meeting and marrying someone from an African country.) After five years and no children, the couple decide to visit Rocky’s home in the Ivory Coast, where Sandy discovers a world of strange, other worldly beliefs and practices. In particular, he is drawn to the concept of the witch’s list, a list of people destined to die. Sandy’s story in this world of African witchcraft and black magic continues, as he is drawn into its culture and practice. The story is different from any other I have read. It is obvious the author knew and researched the culture and practices of African witchcraft and black magic. What I did not care for were the many descriptions of Sandy’s debauched actions with women. I personally would have preferred less in that area and more on the African culture of witchcraft and black magic, though this area was not shorted in the writing. The author writes well. The reader get a good picture of Sandy and his life, as well as of his Scottish heritage. In addition, the author, as I said, knew the African culture of witchcraft and black magic or researched it thoroughly. I just wish there had been less time spent on the debauchery in Sandy’s life. This is the start of a new series which could be an interesting one, depending where the author takes the story and how it goes. As I said, the premise is very interesting and a bit different. Not sure if it will appeal to all readers, but it will to many looking for something a bit different or who are interested in African and this aspect of its culture.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Subhash Dawda

    I RECEIVED AN ARC OF THIS BOOK THANKS TO NET GALLEY AND COSMIC EGGS IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. This book could've easily been a 5 and just as easily been a 2. But for reasons explained below. It teeters at a not so satisfactory 3. I loved the blurb and mystical cover of the book, and I just had to request an ARC. Luckily I got it. So our story begins in beautiful Scotland with young Mr Sandy Beech who is into dark women, this leads him for a short but weirdly ending relationship with a Keny I RECEIVED AN ARC OF THIS BOOK THANKS TO NET GALLEY AND COSMIC EGGS IN RETURN FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. This book could've easily been a 5 and just as easily been a 2. But for reasons explained below. It teeters at a not so satisfactory 3. I loved the blurb and mystical cover of the book, and I just had to request an ARC. Luckily I got it. So our story begins in beautiful Scotland with young Mr Sandy Beech who is into dark women, this leads him for a short but weirdly ending relationship with a Kenyan student Gabriella--who's cousin is apparently performing black magic on Sandy. Starts off great and Cairns ability to write about regular growing up with booze, kebabs, women and sex are quite fantastic and breezy. So we're happily along the ride while several women come and go in Sandy's life. Until he meets Rocky, a hot Ivory Coastian who becomes his wife. 4 years after their marriage, they're still not able to produce a child. So a trip to Ivory Coast is on the cards to try and rekindle the flames. We're about 40% of the book in, it's still breezy and immensely readable. But the foreshadowing is getting a little antsy. You understand Rocky's off, but how, you can't tell. Then we go to a rather descriptive and perhaps deeply personal adventure of Ivory Coast. Not kidding, this could end up in a Lonely Planet and be great in it. But we've precious little about witches. It's always there in the background, but like a speck or star. Eventually the big reveal is little over a page long and comes right at the end. A little yeah saw that coming, but blergh don't care about it because the book is entirely foreshadowing and with little to no end game. This book could've been about Sandy's time with women and probably notched a 3.5 star rating. But as a mystical, horror, black magic based book. It falls woefully short. Yet, the pacing is amazing. Even the most inane things in Sandy's life are made readable and interesting. It's a definite page turner and Cairns deserves trumps for it. Its just not the book the blurb makes it out to be. While it is the first of a trilogy, it's a little cheap to use the first edition as pure setup, i would've expected a lot more. But might just end up giving the second one a shot. I do look forward to Andrew Cairns' future work.

  26. 4 out of 5

    William Blackwell

    I presume The Witch’s List is a debut novel from Andrew Cairns. Written in the first person, this supernatural thriller takes the reader on an epic journey in the life of lead protagonist Sandy Beech. Over many years, it spans Sandy’s upbringing and school days in Scotland, to his life in France, and finally a trip to Africa with his African wife Rocky—an adventure he hopes will rekindle the waning romance. I’ll start with the shortcomings. In the first part of the novel, Cairns rushes through it I presume The Witch’s List is a debut novel from Andrew Cairns. Written in the first person, this supernatural thriller takes the reader on an epic journey in the life of lead protagonist Sandy Beech. Over many years, it spans Sandy’s upbringing and school days in Scotland, to his life in France, and finally a trip to Africa with his African wife Rocky—an adventure he hopes will rekindle the waning romance. I’ll start with the shortcomings. In the first part of the novel, Cairns rushes through it, providing very little insight into Scotland or France for that matter. Character descriptions of family and friends are minimal or non-existent, and so many names keep popping up, it's difficult if not impossible to keep track of them all. We don’t find out much about Sandy’s mother and father and other siblings until deep into the novel. It feels like Cairns is learning his craft on the fly, which I suppose is par for the course for a debut effort. The story falls short on backstory, character development and motivation. One thing we do realize—Sandy is a womanizing party animal who in his early life at least views most women as little more than mere sex objects to be conquered. It could also use a good polish from a good editor. I found one too many grammar and punctuation errors. Out with the bad, in with the good. When we arrive in Africa with his bride Rocky, the writing all of a sudden slows down. Characters are fleshed out, motivations become clearer and things don’t appear so rushed. Although sometimes the description is frivolous and overdone (as with the lengthy description of San Pedro), the story becomes compelling, the writing improves, and we are given a unique glimpse into the strange and mysterious world of witchcraft practiced in Africa. It becomes obvious Cairns writes from first-hand experience and it makes you wonder how much of it is fiction and how much of it is real. I have to admit that once I hit the three-quarter mark, I couldn’t put the book down. And to be fair, even the beginning and middle were interesting, although I had a difficult time sympathizing with the main character. Overall, The Witch’s List is an entertaining, interesting and compelling read. I hope Cairns takes constructive criticism to heart and his future novels become much more refined and polished. He’s certainly demonstrated a flair for storytelling.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Witch’s List is the first part of a trilogy, the main character is Sandy Beech (great name) and he tells of his time at school and what happens with a certain book him and his friend come across at the library at school. It then describes his fun times before college, the love of his life and how poorly that ended up. Then when he is at university he meets a nun called Bernadette who warns him and basically tells him to stick with good Scottish lass as African women are dangerous. There is a The Witch’s List is the first part of a trilogy, the main character is Sandy Beech (great name) and he tells of his time at school and what happens with a certain book him and his friend come across at the library at school. It then describes his fun times before college, the love of his life and how poorly that ended up. Then when he is at university he meets a nun called Bernadette who warns him and basically tells him to stick with good Scottish lass as African women are dangerous. There is a twist on what happens when he visits Bernadette though and it quite spooky. Anyway while at Uni he has the option to do an exchange and do a year in France. He has fun as all young lads do but having fun lands him in trouble a few times along the way. He is still drawn to African women and eventually meets and marries Rocky (another great name especially once married Rocky Beech). Their actual wedding was quite a funny thing to read but after a few years the strains were showing and they decide to visit the Ivory Coast to visit Rocky’s family. Strange things start happening at every location they visit which I didn’t really put two and two together at first. Not until the very end where I was left open mouthed, hoping that the next book would be available sooner rather than later so I can read what happens next. Let’s put it this way, apart from a few mentions of a Witch’s List I thought I was reading the wrong book as nothing really happened with it, it was just mentioned. But it wasn’t until the end that I actually got it and presume that more will be learnt about it in the subsequent books. Overall I really enjoyed this book, for someone that grew up in the 80’s although younger than Sandy, I could relate to many things he was talking about. I also like anything to do with witches, witchcraft and the supernatural. The book was paced well and it was an enjoyable read, which was full of action, humour and emotion and spooky moments. The characters were described very well and I felt like I knew them personally. The details of the different places Sandy lived or visited were remarkable and you can tell that Andrew Cairns, the author, had visited them all. I can’t wait for the next instalment.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Sandy Beech is a good Scottish, catholic boy who doesn't believe in black magic, witches or anything involving the supernatural. He is quite sure there is a logical explanation for everything but, is he right? Sandy is drawn to dark skinned women, especially those from Africa. His first girlfriend Gabriella is from Kenya but their relationship doesn't last, due to family pressure, on Gabriella's side and what they see as cultural differences. Although he is warned by a mysterious dying nun to sta Sandy Beech is a good Scottish, catholic boy who doesn't believe in black magic, witches or anything involving the supernatural. He is quite sure there is a logical explanation for everything but, is he right? Sandy is drawn to dark skinned women, especially those from Africa. His first girlfriend Gabriella is from Kenya but their relationship doesn't last, due to family pressure, on Gabriella's side and what they see as cultural differences. Although he is warned by a mysterious dying nun to stay away from African women, Sandy isn't able to get over Gabriella for a long time. Eventually he finds her replacement in France where he is an Erasmus exchange student. Roquelle or “Rocky” for short is from the Ivory Coast and she has all the exotic characteristics Sandy is looking for. After an initially peaceful marriage things take a turn for the worse when the pair aren't able to conceive a child. Sandy hopes a visit to the Ivory Coast and Rocky's ancestral village will get their relationship back on track but what he finds might surprise everyone. The Witch's list may draw him into a world he is not sure really exists. Initially, I was drawn to this book by the terrific cover and I'm happy to say that the book as a whole did not let me down. It was engaging and well written. Having studied in a Scottish University and having done some research in West Africa both parts of this story appealed to me. The descriptions were captivating and the characters were well portrayed. Throughout the story I felt like I was right there with Sandy in the middle of the action, peering over his shoulder. I'm happy to see from the back cover of the book that this is the first of a trilogy. I can't wait to read more. Thanks to Cosmic Egg Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. More reviews at: www.susannesbooklist.blogspot.com

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    This is the first book of a trilogy and I found it to be interesting. This book explores the life of Sandy Beech from a young lad through early life. Sandy is not a believer in witch's, witchcraft, or black magic; he believes there si a logical explanation for everything. Sandy begins to witness events certain events that start creating doubts in his mind such as a burning book, a crucifix falling off the wall and a illness with no spcific cause. Sandy knows her prefers African woman over any ot This is the first book of a trilogy and I found it to be interesting. This book explores the life of Sandy Beech from a young lad through early life. Sandy is not a believer in witch's, witchcraft, or black magic; he believes there si a logical explanation for everything. Sandy begins to witness events certain events that start creating doubts in his mind such as a burning book, a crucifix falling off the wall and a illness with no spcific cause. Sandy knows her prefers African woman over any other, he finds their dark skin color to be the most beautiful and alluring above all others. Sandy is warned by a nun who was terribly burned not to give into his lusts and to stay away from African women. This is something he tries to do but he soon meets and falls in love with Rocky. They move in together and eventually marry. It isn't until Sandy and Rocky visit her family on the Ivory Coast that Sandy learns about "The Witch's List" and how people get on to it. Sandy also has several unexplained happenings while in Africa. Sandy's new friends and in-laws try to explain more about the dark magic that happens in Africa and what being on "The Witch's List" means. The more I think about this book, the more I like it. The author has taken great care to lay out the ground work for the next two books in the series. I honestly was going to stop reading this book several times becuase it moved a little slow in certain parts and didn't seem like anything was happening to move the story along. I am glad I finished, it's worth the journey. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, I can't wait to read what happens next! I received a copy of this manuscript from the publisher via NetGalley in exachange for an honest review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Yana

    I received this novel for an honest review from NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing Ltd. I copy of this review can be found on: https://thequidnuncblog.wordpress.com... I didn't need to finish the book to know I had become a fan of Andrew Cairns. It is one of those stories that crawl under your skin and would stay there for ages, lasting and cruel, because you'll always recall reading; their words will always be a whisper in the back of you mind, a whisper, a caress of the soul. The story unfolds at I received this novel for an honest review from NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing Ltd. I copy of this review can be found on: https://thequidnuncblog.wordpress.com... I didn't need to finish the book to know I had become a fan of Andrew Cairns. It is one of those stories that crawl under your skin and would stay there for ages, lasting and cruel, because you'll always recall reading; their words will always be a whisper in the back of you mind, a whisper, a caress of the soul. The story unfolds at a steady pace, with the threat of dark outcomes never far away. It is Hemingway reborn - with a tongue so sweet it almost kills you, it is pacy and the language hugs you like a cosy blanket on a rainy day. What fascinated me the most was the way the novel started off as an average story and slowly uncovered its fantasy for me. Slowly crawling on the verge of sanity until you are completely sunk in its world of magic. Highly engaging it is a read that I will definitely advise people to read. It's the kind of book where you don't realise how much you've read until your eyes begin to hurt, filled with suspense, intrigue, and chills. An intriguing premise that doesn't fall short!

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