Diana Tregarde, writer of Romance novels, Wiccan and undercover Paranormal Investigator returns for another adventure in this entertaining and thought-provoking novel by Mercedes Lackey. Larry Kestrel, another of Diana’s former Spook Squad members needs help in Tulsa, Oklahoma where someone or something seems to be trying to get its claws into his teenage son, Deke.
Like Burning Water, this novel is packed with suspense, action, magic and mayhem. Having visited the Tulsa area a few times before and after this novel was written, it was interesting to see how well Mercedes integrated her home town into this novel when she is so well known for writing about other worlds and other eras.
Jinx High also deals with sensitive issues such as AIDS, teenage promiscuity, drinking and drug abuse in a very compassionate and realistic way. Some of the teenagers in this novel are like many I see in the high schools here… far more curious than their parents realize, far more worldly that we think and just as confused as some adults about what to do with their lives.
When Diana Tregarde agrees to help out with an advanced writing class at the local high school, as a cover for her investigation into the paranormal happenings, Lackey has fun creating a semi “Mise-en-abyme” (story within a story) where her main character describes what it takes to be writer and what their day truly looks like. As someone else who has experienced the “I have a great idea for a story.. why don’t I share it with you and then we can split the profits when you turn it into a book” meeting, I laughed until I cried when I got to that section of her narrative.
Jinx High contains more sexual nuances and descriptions that horror this time, although there are a few gruesome deaths. What stands out, above all else, is the sense of courage with which some of the characters face almost impossible odds. The plot twists are masterfully crafted and the ending leaves you satisfied, but wishing there were more Diana Tregarde novels to enjoy.
Paperback format, 314 pages, published in 1991 by Tor Books