Title: The Skinny on the Jinni
Author: Gloria Lesher
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery
In The Skinny on the Jinni, retired professor Blythe Golightly is determined to save sixteen-year-old Najia from the clutches of Najia’s father, Sheikh Rabbaani. With power, status, and wealth, Sheikh Rabbaani has always had things go his way, so when Blythe gets involved, she knows she needs to be extra cautious when dealing with him, his cronies, and anything else he brings along with him.
After spending years trapped under her father’s control, Najia is convinced she has a jinni that has taken over her. A jinni is a lower rank spirit that follows, taunts, and can take over one’s mind and body. Blythe believes she has the experience to be rid of the jinni, but when she herself encounters it, she discovers the depth of its ill will and questions her own abilities.
The book starts off on a high note with an intense, fast-paced action scene. This strong opening sets the tone for the rest of the book, which continually raises in intensity. These action scenes are engrossing and engaging. Every character is involved, the stakes are high for everyone, and readers will definitely feel the pressure. Although the entire book is fast paced, the opening and closing of the book are the strongest parts because of how thrilling they are.
Don’t be fooled by the novel’s cheeky title and short length—this is a darker cozy mystery. With a murder investigation, kidnapping, and a myriad of tense situations, this book isn’t for light reading. The subject matter is quite serious and can be heavy at times. The paranormal elements add a more whimsical atmosphere to the novel, but the tensions are always at an all-time high.
There is a portion of the novel that includes Najia’s diary entries where she details her paranormal experiences with the jinni. This was a very effective way to illustrate how ominous and spooky the jinni is. Including more scenes with the jinni and spreading them throughout the novel would have amplified the horror elements and the haunted feelings that Blythe and Najia experience with the jinni.
Despite being the narrator, Blythe’s personal history is not fleshed out as much as the other characters. Readers may struggle to connect with her personally. Oftentimes her narration is very similar to a third-person narration because she is so intuitive about other people’s feelings, to the point that she falls to the background, outshined by the other character’s big personalities and interesting backstories.
In The Skinny on the Jinni, murder, ghosts, and mystery lurk around every corner. In this dark cozy mystery, Lesher incorporates a paranormal entity from Arabian and Muslim mythology, the jinni, as the central ominous figure in the novel, but it isn’t the only one. Readers will be absorbed by the complicated family ties and business relations that entangle every character, pulling them deeper into the dramatic, near inescapable powers of those who want total control. Whether you are a paranormal lover, a dark cozy mystery reader, or a mystery/thriller fan, The Skinny on the Jinni will satisfy readers of all kinds.
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