A dash of magic, a pinch of murder, a splash of moonshine. In a secluded Appalachian town built on buried secrets, the James women have unusual talents. But Linden’s gift is a curse. When sightings of a folktale monster lead to a body, she must find the killer before she’s next. A deliciously dark Southern-fried Practical Magic meets Riverdale.
Here’s what I know for sure: A cast iron skillet must be seasoned with lard, pickling and preserving are best done during a waning moon, honey and vinegar will cure a cough, and secrets buried deep never stay that way.
I plant myself in front of the box fan wedged into the window and lift the hem of my shirt. Gran eyes me from the opposite side of the Harvest Moon’s small kitchen where she’s prepping food for tomorrow night’s festival. She runs the blade of her knife between the ribs of a side of pork she was given for curing the Thompson baby of colic. Breaking through the bone, resolutely dismantling it, her hands never pause, never falter, even with her eyes on me. She tosses strips of meat into a bowl of a spicy marinade, her own secret recipe, and the bones into a roasting pan for broth.
Nothing ever wasted.
My sisters and I grew up in this kitchen with its stainless steel, white walls and faint scent of bleach. And it was here, in between dishing up cornbread and hearty bowls of hoppin’ john, that Mama and Gran taught us the real family calling.
In the evenings we’d write our wishes in white ink on bay leaves, crush them between our fingers and release them to the wind over and over until all the air around us was scented with their bitter green bite.