Review – Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter

  • Writing - 10/10
  • Development - 9/10
  • Overall - 9.5/10
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Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter


Nell Ingram faces a dark craft known as death magic in the newest pulse-pounding paranormal procedural in the New York Times bestselling Soulwood series.

Nell Ingram is a rookie PsyLed agent, using the powers she can channel from deep within the earth to solve paranormal crimes. Together with her team, she’s taken on the darkest magic and the direst foes. But she’ll need to tap into every ounce of power she has for her newest case.

Nell is called to the Tennessee mansion of a country music star and finds a disturbing scene–dead bodies rapidly decaying before everyone’s eyes. The witch on her team, T. Laine, knows this can only be one thing: death magic, a rare type of craft used to steal life forces. PsyLed needs to find this lethal killer fast. But when a paranormal-hating FBI agent tries to derail the investigation, they find themselves under attack from all sides.”
Released: July 28th, 2020
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384

Spells for the Dead is the fifth novel in the Soulwood series, letting readers see once again into the life and investigations of Nell Ingram.


A Lethal Magic Is Born in Spells for the Dead


Nell Ingram is back in the latest novel from Faith Hunter. Spells for the Dead is the fifth novel in the Soulwood series, and once again readers are about to visit a world full of magic and paranormals. As well as killers.

Nell is an agent of PsyLed, and as such, she has found herself involved in more than one unusual or terrifying case. Her team gets the cases that normal government agencies can’t handle. The ones that revolve around magic or other paranormal means.

Now they’re all about to face something larger than they’ve ever seen before. A death working is tearing through their jurisdiction, and there’s only so much time to solve the cause – and stop it – before it’s too late.

I’m going to be upfront here. Soulwood is one of my favorite series. It spins off from the world of Jane Yellowrock (another beloved series of mine), and I have consistently counted down the days for it every time. Every time, it has lived up to my expectations. Yet I’ll confess that there may be a slight amount of bias, being one of my favorites and all.


Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter
Spells for the Dead by Faith Hunter

Spells for the Dead is one of the most thrilling reads of the series thus far. The stakes have never been higher, the magic has never been more intriguing. Nell is officially in the deep end now, and it shows.

This novel is graphic to the extreme, taking a deep dive into the darker side of magic. (See below for a content warning). It further explored parts of the world that we’ve been eager to see, answering questions while laying down more. Yet there’s still that lingering feeling that there is still so much more to explore in this world.

One of the reasons I adore this series so much is the unique take on all of the paranormals that Nell comes across. Not to mention Nell herself. This novel, once again, highlights all of those elements, all while taking the time to introduce more.

The other highlight of the series? It merges fantasy elements with a police procedural. It has those magical elements (literally), as well as the harrowing moments that come from investigating any crime scene.

This crime scene is probably worse than normal, and with good reason. This story quickly became a race against time, setting the tone for the entire novel. It was richly detailed, intense, and full of small details worth paying attention to.


Unsurprisingly, Spells for the Dead was an incredibly fast-paced read. It’s yet another novel that I devoured in one sitting, and I have no regrets about that. It’s a book that doesn’t want to be put down, thanks to the stakes being so high.

The crime elements of the story force the plot onward, while elements revolving around Nell and her family allow for moments of fresh air. Those moments are more vital than you might expect, given everything else that is going on.

Despite the sense of the plot constantly moving forward, this is not a tale that once felt rushed. Nell and her team came to the conclusion at the right point in the story. Leaving plenty of time for fans to try and solve the puzzle alongside them.


Spells for the Dead was every bit as intense and amazing as I hoped it would be. It showcased everything that Nell had to offer. All while highlighting other parts of this world that are so worth exploring.

The combination of police procedural with paranormal works beautifully here, and in the rest of the series as well. In that way, it’s perfect for fans that enjoy both, as it gives readers a chance to indulge in that rare combination.

If you haven’t heard of Soulwood or Jane Yellowrock for that matter, I sincerely cannot recommend the series enough. It’s one of my favorite Urban Fantasy series, and with good reason. The writing and character development in both series is a treasure, and one I plan to hold onto with both hands.


Content Warning

Spells for the Dead is an extremely intense novel, and it contains a lot of detail. Specifically, detail revolving around death and decomposition. It is essential to the plot, yet some people would probably appreciate the warning nonetheless.




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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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