Joanne Walker's been busy not learning how to use her shamanic powers when she is pulled into an otherworldly plot by a malicious spirit to manifest in the flesh. Abandoned by her spirit guide, she takes another teacher, one who pushes her in unexpected and unsettling directions.

Joanne is an interesting and sympathetic protagonist but, in this book, she's extraordinarily naive and participates in a number of rituals without being fully cognizant of what it is she's agreeing to. The secondary characters, with the exception of Gary and Morrison, are sketchily drawn.

Overall, this is a disappointing yet solid second entry in this series. There were lots of interesting things going on, but the plot was often difficult to follow, and Joanne's obtuseness often verges on infuriating. Astute readers will be able to suss out what's going on well before she does. One highlight, however, is Joanne's sensitively wrought friendship with Gary. If only as much attention had been paid to the rest of the book. (May, 416 pp., $14.95)
Reviewed by: 
Natalie A. Luhrs