Thunderbird Falls   - C.E. Murphy
"Thunderbird Falls" delivered exactly what I was looking for this weekend: relaxing, escapist, entertainment that demanded nothing much from me except the suspension of disbelief and a willingness to open my imagination to astral plane encounters.

"Thunderbird Falls" follows on from "Urban Shaman". It deals with Joanne Walker trying to come to terms with being a Shaman when her preference is just to be a mechanic and not to believe in anything magical.

I liked the development of the relationships Walker established in the first book: the 70+ taxi driver with charisma and good humour, her love-hate there's-more-to-me-than-you-know Police Captain and her I-wear-nail-polish-because-I-like-it-and-it-unsettles-people Police Detective colleague. This gives the basis for a good ensemble cast for the rest of the series.

Walker spends a lot of this book revisiting her hidden-from-everyone-she-cares-about past. This is nicely done, striking a good balance between maudlin introspection and epiphany.

The plot is moderately complicated and brings in a whole coven of witches and some new and very scary bad guys. The astral battles are vividly described. What I liked most was that Walker is allowed to make a lot of mistakes in this book rather than glided along effortlessly as so many heroes seem to do. I also enjoyed the theme that explored the nature and use of sacrifice of yourself and others.

There was nothing in the book that made me go "Wow" but nothing that made me want to skip forward either. I enjoyed myself and cheered at the end. I'll get to the third book the next time I want a chilled weekend with a book.