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The Witch's Ladder

(Tony Marcella Mystery #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  712 ratings  ·  63 reviews
*** New 2013 Edition ***

Book One in the Detective Marcella Witch's series: A group of talented individuals proficient in the psychic academia of clairvoyance, mental telepathy and bilocation, work together to understand life’s most unusual secrets. But secrets among psychics are hard to keep, and the members of this group soon realize that even their abilities of mind over
Kindle Edition, 293 pages
Published (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  712 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're not already "into" Paranormal might want to take a pass on this one..

Nancy Drew & The Hardy Boys do Paranormal??? This clueless bunch of psychics could barely organize lunch...never mind the murder of one of their own...who embodies the "soul of all evil" (my quotes..not the author's)

The narrative bounces between snippets of "lectures" on all things paranormal....and trendy, Hip dialogue...a bit disconcerting. All of the stereotypes are well as the funky fogs and
Aug 01, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
The premise is interesting enough - murders take place amongst a group of paranormal experts and practitioners, and a grisly pre-retirement cop has to solve them. The execution didn't make it worthwhile, though. The characters aren't well-defined, and their behaviours and reactions aren't believable. They were disdainful of paganism and reacted like frightened, ignorant people when divination was mentioned (and most of them hadn't heard of it). The narration is confusing too, as it's from the po ...more
Oct 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Oh my gods is this a terrible book! I thoroughly enjoy Paranormal Fiction and am disappointed by The Witch's Ladder. The story line is a good idea, but the writing is terrible. There is little development of the characters, so it makes no sense when the psychics all agree (SPOILER!) to kill their mentor with few concerns or hesitation. They cut off his head with a saw (aagghhh!) and no one starts freaking out or goes to the police. Oh, and they're all psychics, but are suspicious of witches, pag ...more
Roddy Williams
It's a bit of a paradox this. Highly entertaining and engrossing, and at the same time quite ridiculous. It could have done with some editing to eliminate some minor problems. For instance, it is established very early on that members of a group of paranormal adepts that have regular meetings are being killed off one by one. One has to ask, if you were a member of that group, why would you attend the next meeting? One might also ask, given that they are gifted psychics, why they didn't see all t ...more
Charley Girl
Apr 23, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018-read
This book was not for me. I found the characters to be one dimensional and the story to be that of a grade-school book. I was hoping for some paranormal fun but I think that if I were in my early teens I probably would have loved it. Unfortunately, I am not.

Lou Ann
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good scary book not for the faint of heart.

Detective Marcella narrates this story from his perspective as a policeman. Carlos his partner doesn’t believe in the witch’s ladder or bilocation or that some one can send you a headache. Carlos becomes a true believer in the end.
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Witch's Ladder: Book 1 (Detective Marcella Witch's Series)

This was an ok book how ever I do wish that the author had done more to make it more interesting. I look forward to reading more of this authors work.
Judy More
Been waiting to read again

This series is so intriguing and interesting . I read years ago then did not have device to use. Just had to start the series over. Lilith is quite the witch, funny,calm and coy . There is no blah blah boring unneeded info. The ending is so unexpected.
Melanie Izzo picciotti
The story was great, the writing was terrible.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Didnt see the ending coming!
Rachel Reyna
Jul 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fun read

It stays interesting… easy to read. Especially if you need to pick it up and put it down a lot. I couldn’t wait to get back to it again.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Bravo! A good fast read! now i am hooked. This was such a great, easy and creative book. i was hooked after the first page.

The characters were easy to fall in love with and follow, along with the story. the author made the mental visions so easy and vivid of the surroundings and the characters actions felt so real.

i would highly recommend this author and this book.
I didn’t realise when I read this book, and found out only when I started writing my review that this is the first of, what is currently a series of eleven books. However, don’t let that put you off from reading it, even if you’re not looking for another long series to take up your time, this book works very well as a standalone.

Not the usual run of the mill paranormal murder mystery, this one reads more like a novel from an earlier time, with character back story being kept to a minimum and the
Scott Callaway
The Witch's Ladder is not only the first paranormal murder mystery novel I've read, but the first straight up mystery I've read also. There were things that really worked for me in this book and others that didn't. But in the end I thought it was pretty good.

I'm a guy who likes to read a lot of dialogue and this book had lots of it. For the most part it all flowed really well and was believable, except for Detective Marcella. I don't know if detective's actually talk the way he does, especially
First thing I need to say is if I am ever murdered I don't want Tony Marcella investigating the crime please please ask DCI Banks instead! Marcella's process is that of elimination of suspects till it's the last man/woman standing! Marcella does not give the impression of being a veteran cop except for the fact he likes doughnuts, he is leading the investigation yet when at one point there is a fire in an unexpected place instead of doing a thorough investigation of the scene it is only later th ...more
Sep 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, e-books
A group of individuals proficient in the psychic academia of clairvoyance, mental telepathy and bilocation work together to understand life’s most unusual secrets. But in a world where secrets among psychics are hard to keep, they soon realize that even their abilities of mind over matter cannot save them from the blade of the surgeon stalker. Book one in a series of Detective Marcella mysteries

This was a gripping, fast-paced and action-packed murder mystery that had many twists and turns and
Darcia Helle
I was given the honor of reading The Witch’s Ladder, the first novel in the Detective Marcella Mysteries series by Dana Donovan, a brilliant upcoming author. This book is a rollercoaster ride of paranormal suspense. The characters are each unique and wonderfully entertaining and the plot will keep you guessing until the end. If you like your mystery laced with witchcraft and psychic phenomena, then you’ll love The Witch’s Ladder.

Dana has made Eye of the Witch, the second book in this series, a f
Brick ONeil
Jan 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second book was the one that I first read in this series, "The Eye of the Witch", as a free giveaway on's kindle store. Dana so impressed me with the characters, plot, sub-plot, setting, that I bought books one and three straight after reading book two.

When reading, you do have to suspend belief in rational, hard scientific reasoning in order to enjoy the book, thus, the series. There could be some editing that would be beneficial, but as a first book (I'm assuming), it is a stell
Brenda Hill
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most interesting book I have ever read.

The Witch's Ladder, a Detective Marcella Witch's Series, was the most riveting book I have read in a long time. I have only read stories that mention witch's but none were this spellbinding. I could not put the book down. I fell in love with Detective Tony Marcella and his investigation in this murder. I learned so many things about witches and other supernatural phenomena. Dana Donovan did a great job of letting the reader know what each person was abl
Sep 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Book One in the Detective Marcella Witch's series: A group of talented individuals proficient in the psychic academia of clairvoyance, mental telepathy and bilocation, work together to understand life’s most unusual secrets. But secrets among psychics are hard to keep, and the members of this group soon realize that even their abilities of mind over matter can’t protect them from the blade of the Surgeon Stalker.

I really enjoyed this book as the plot twisted and turned at every page. It is a goo
Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting twist on the typical light murder mystery/detective story. I liked the paranormal elements, but the mix of paranormal & occult wasn't quite right for some reason.

On one hand, it would have been nice to have a little more background on the characters, but it also made figuring It out a little more challenging.

The narrator did a nice job with the accents and voicing for characters. The main character's accent was particularly good,

This audiobook was provided by the author,
The Witch's Ladder by Dana Donovan is the first in the Detective Marcella series, with a strong paranormal bent. It was OK - the characters and plot interesting enough to keep me reading, and maybe enough to get me to read the next in the series (likely, given that I already have it - also as a freebie), but not gripping. Some elements felt a bit cliched, and lots of TSTL and "oh, come on?! Really???" moments. Plus I had a fair sense of the general direction of "whodunit" pretty early on. ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting enough subject matter, but poor execution. There is no distinction between the narrators voice and that of other characters. And the book makes a big deal out of the protagonist being the narrator (as opposed to some un identified 3rd person view)---yet the same voice/person also narrates parts of the story it is impossible for the protagonist to know or have seen. Finally, the book is guilty of "telling" more then "showing". ...more
Wow! Quite the adventure. Delved into things I never knew about before, all quite interesting but many required me to suspend my belief in "I'll believe it when I see it." Since this was a story I just rolled with all the mind transference, mental telepathy, bilocation and clairvoyance although the information about all these things was really informative. All in all, a really good, suspensful read that I enjoyed and I will be reading the 2nd one. ...more
This wasn't the best book, but I liked it. The characters were quite strange and lost. The detective has to either become a believer in these abilities or lose his case. The detective is quite a character in himself with the fact that he plans on retiring with, hopefully, going out with a big case solved. And convince his partner of the things he has seen. ...more
Apr 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, quick, read. Crime mysteries are not my usual genre, but enjoyed the supernatural twist that gave it a little more interest for me. Donovan doesn't take the time to give huge background and detail about the characters, but that's okay as it keeps the story moving along. I will definitely read the second book in the series after a couple different reads. ...more
Kat Lebo
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently reading this entire series. This is the first book in the series. Interesting look at the paranormal world, with an emphasis on witchcraft. I enjoyed this book, found the main characters likeable, although I did find the characterizations of those with paranormal powers to be a bit insulting. Still a fun, fast read with plenty of twists and turns. ...more
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ehhhh...not really good. Not horrible but not good. The characters were flat and not very likeable. The story is very convoluted at times and seems that it would have benefitted from being told from a third party point of view. The premise had potential but the story was told poorly and is in need of a good editor. I like paranormal mysteries but this one just seemed to go off the deep end.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Except for liking the character of the wise-cracking witch I don't think I would have finished this one. Too many things happened that did not "feel" right. I cannot always describe what is wrong, but it is just not plausible. And liking/believing one character out of many is not enough to carry the story. ...more
May 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The story started good, but then it lost me. I didn't connect with any of the characters and I lost interest. It had parts that I thought were really good. Then it was slow and repetitive in some areas and I lost interest. It did have a lot of paranormal information that I had not heard of before. ...more
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Dana Donovan grew up in New England where folklore and superstitions can mold a town’s history as much as its people. He exploits that phenomenon in all his books, perpetuating the enigma of small town life and the belief in all that dies is not dead.

Other books in the series

Tony Marcella Mystery (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Eye of the Witch
  • The Witch's Key (Tony Marcella Mysteries, #3)
  • Bones of a Witch (Tony Marcella Mysteries, #4)
  • Witch House (Tony Marcella Mysteries, #5)
  • Kiss The Witch (Tony Marcella Mysteries, #6)
  • Call of the Witch (Tony Marcella Mysteries, #7)
  • Gone is the Witch (Tony Marcella Mysteries, #8)
  • Return Of The Witch (Detective Marcella Witch's series #9)
  • Bury the Witch (Detective Marcella Witch's series #10)
  • Soul of a Witch (Detective Marcella Witch's  #11)

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