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The Witch's List

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  61 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his scepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her deathbed, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this d ...more
Paperback, 232 pages
Published June 24th 2016 by Cosmic Egg Books
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Nov 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 60-books-in-2016
EDIT: I am adding this image of a letter the author sent me today. He asked me to edit my review of this book and I am editing it to add his comments. I stand by my honest review and the fact that all reviews are subjective and I am entitled to my opinion. In addition, white guys don't get to decide what's racist and what's not. I actually laughed when he dropped Stevie Wonder and Spike Lee's names. Moreover, this author found my review on Amazon, searched the internet for me, and found me here ...more
Jennifer Withers
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I agree with the few other reviewers who say the blurb of this book is somewhat misleading. What captured my attention in the blurb was the promise of African witchcraft, and while there are some elements of this in the story, it's in no way the focus of the book. The focus is mostly on Sandy Beech, and his life as he goes through school, and then university, and his year spent in France. During this time, aside from when he's really young, the story revolves around his numerous sexcapades with ...more
Ian Welch
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is different, the underlying premise of a witches list for the most part very rarely rates a mention, although you suspect it is brewing just under the surface. It could leap out at any moment. At times, it reads like an autobiography, and at others a geographical lesson laced with information and events.
The story recounts Sandy Beech’s (great name) troubled early years progressing through his life and his romantic liaisons. Marriage is not the expected bed of roses; the unexplained ev
Jennifer S. Alderson
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-by-book
This is more of a coming-of-age story than the novel about witchcraft that I had been expecting. However, the author's style of writing and pacing kept me reading. I am glad I did! The descriptions of Scotland, France and the Ivory Coast are detailed and enticing. That's probably what I enjoyed reading most about this book. Parts of the story feel like a memoir and others are clearly fiction. That made for an interesting mix! I enjoyed Sandy Beech's journey and am curious to see where the author ...more
J.B. Trepagnier
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm not quite sure what to make of this book. From the blurb, it sounds like it might be some sort of supernatural suspense novel. Actually reading it, it's more like half coming of age, half travel guide. We don't hear any mention of the Witch List that the title suggests until about 65% until the book and we don't read about actual witchcraft towards the narrator until the last two pages and some of the big reveal at the end didn't actually make sense given the narrator's endless complaining a ...more
Laura (b00k-witch)
Aug 19, 2016 rated it did not like it
I picked this book up after a local author's event, and I thought the book's main concept of a 'witches list' set initially in Scotland was fascinating. The witches list, as described by the author, is a list "similar to death note", where if you are on the list, you will die, and to this I felt that he didn't really have a strong idea of what Death Note is. I found some moments in the book chilling there were a number of scenes I found quite racist, for instance, the main character being warned ...more
Kayla Krantz
The Witch’s List is a combination of a supernatural story and a coming of age tale. The story focuses around the main character named Sandy Beech and we see his shenanigans and life as he graduates high school and moves onto his life. Sandy isn’t like his Scottish ancestors who have a thing for pale skin, blue eye girls. He likes African girls from the Ivory coast. After his first girlfriend, Gabriella, Sandy gets his first taste of witchcraft and what being on the wrong end of it can feel like. ...more
Sep 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
The African culture is one of the cultures that I honestly know nothing about. After reading this novel, I discovered a lot about it and I seriously want to know more! According to Wikipedia, this culture is well-known for its arts and crafts, folklore, and religion, clothing, cuisine, music and languages. And I couldn’t agree more. All these elements are present in this book, and I like how I got to have a glimpse of the African’s beliefs, traditions and preferences. This book is the first inst ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I finished this book several days ago, and have been thinking about it ever since. That means it touched me, even though it wasn’t in an endearing way, it was effective. I will assume that was intended.

The narrator, Sandy, was unlike any main character I’ve read. He explored every aspect about men that make me uncomfortable as woman. It was a very candid and raw look at the base motivations of that sort of man. I like to think men like Sandy are the exception, and I might be deluding myself, but
Jaci Miller
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I do love a good book about witch’s whether fantastical or historical so I was thrilled when I saw the title of this book and intrigued with the image on the cover. I assumed that this book might detail some old-world voodoo-style witchcraft, that is dark, ritualistic and vengeful. Unfortunately, it was none of these.

The blurb was misleading, as the story never really developed into anything remotely magical or ritualistic, leaving me disappointed. As this is the first in a trilogy I am hoping t
Mark Kasniak
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Andrew Cairns wove himself a uniquely strange tale in, “The Witch’s list” an exotic story that dives deep into the darkness of African witchcraft, and I absolutely loved this story! Mystery, murder, and taboo sorcery all rolled into one.
The book starts out in the 1980’s with the introduction of its main character (Sandy Beech.) While Sandy is in high school, he gets his first taste of witchcraft when a strange event happens to him and a friend in the school’s library. Since that event, Sandy m
Patricia Romero
Sandy Beech doesn't believe in witches and the supernatural. However, certain strange events occur which put his skepticism to the test: a burning book, a falling crucifix, a mysterious illness, and a fire in a convent which kills all twelve nuns. On her death bead, Bernadette, the last surviving nun, warns him to control his lusts and avoid African women. Sandy finds this difficult, since he is attracted to exotic, dark-skinned women and after his hedonistic university exchange year in Paris, m ...more
Michelle Stanley
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite

“Once you’re on the witch’s list, you’re as good as dead.” Andrew Cairns' novel, The Witch’s List, is a beguiling supernatural novel that follows Sandy Beech through childhood into his adult years. His attraction to exotic black women lures him into the dark world of witchcraft. Peculiar things happen when his girlfriend’s cousin casts a spell and he becomes ill. Sandy ignores the warning of a dying nun and marries Rocky, another woman from the I
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
It’s not only Macbeth that has to confront witches in Scotland

We learn early on in Cairn’s exploration of modern day witches, that ‘once you are on a witch’s list, you are as good as dead’. This reminded me of an old Africa-hand telling VSO volunteers at a briefing before going to an East African posting, "JuJu is a joke in the green fields of England and deadly serious in the villages of Africa”. Sandy, the hero of this tale, has a brush with the dark forces early on, when a book on witches and
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Witch’s List is both a supernatural tale and a coming-of-age journey. I won’t outline the story here because other reviews have done a good job of that, but I will say that the novel reads like a memoir. It’s as if Sandy Beech and I had met at a pub and he was sharing the secrets of his life with me. Sandy’s childhood in Scotland, and his adventures in France and Africa felt real. Authentic. The weird happenings, unlikely coincidences, and hints at African witchcraft also felt incredibly bel ...more
Jon Zelig
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
The protagonist of Andrew Cairns’ “The Witch’s List,” Sandy Beech (who ends up in relationships with an Ivoirian named Rocky Coste and another with a Kurd named Leman), is . . . problematic. As a middle-aged-white-man, I’m not much into reflexively beating on people in my own “categories.” That said, Sandy comes off as a sexist and something of a racist—of the “exoticizing” variety. The fact that he basically has more of a fetish than a preference for black women isn’t a “get out of jail free ca ...more
K.T. McColl
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it
The Witch's List is partly a coming of age story, partly (and ostensibly) a supernatural thriller.

The Witch's List follows Sandy Beech through the various stages of his life -- high school in Scotland, university in Paris, and married life in Paris and the Ivory Coast. The novel does a great job of capturing the casual cruelty of high school and the often hedonistic life of a university student. The novel also excels in the vivid rendering of the various settings.

While the protagonist is a sympa
Mar 27, 2017 rated it liked it
It took me a while to get into the flow of this book, I kept expecting something to happen and it never really did. But the reason I gave 3 stars was because as a memoir and travel book on the author's experiences in Paris and Africa it's interesting and written well in that style. As a work of fiction about The Witch's List it lacks drama, pace and storyline. The final discovery could have been a more shocking reveal. The meeting of the fellow Scotsman in the bar could've been expanded on and e ...more
Sarah Stuart
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I could empathise with the young Sandy, and his teenage peeps into Witches and Warlocks attracted by the sexy illustrations, and his story of the schoolmaster who ran a chess club for pupils and heated the laboratory with Bunsen burners. It became harder as Sandy grew up; he seemed to have a poor attitude to women. However, the story moves along at a good pace, has a strong plot, and the settings are very real, or they must have been not so long ago. Africa tends to change slowly short of a revo ...more
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing


The story line of The Witch's list has been covered by the many earlier excellent reviews, so I'm not going to go into any detail regarding the plot here. What I will say is, that I started out reading this fascinating sounding book with a certain amount of trepidation. I have always had an inexplicable horror, almost fear of black magic, which I believe to be not only very real, but also extremely dangerous and potent - particularly the African form.
Cairns tells the story in
Prithiv Chandar
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A colorful story that plunges profound into the obscurity of African witchcraft, and I totally cherished this story. The writer canvassed assortment of things in this book easily. The story has a decent pace to it, for me 'The Witch's List' was an entrancing read. The author has done a top job and conveyed a unique story. Definitely recommended to those who are looking for a peculiar piece to read!
Phil Sageser
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well written book, particularly in the early chapters about school days in Britain and later as a travelogue in the Ivory Coast. While African Witchcraft provides the skeleton for the plot, it remains largely hidden. Indeed, in some ways, it is appears almost as an afterthought. The details of this story are more important than the meaning. Enjoy it for the little things.
Didi Oviatt
Nov 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
A well rounded adventure! With The Witch's List, Andrew Cairns has told a unique and unforgettable tale of a white man from Scotland named Sandy. One thing that I loved about this book is that it does not center itself on one particular event or portion of the main character's life. It actually covers the majority of Sandy's lifespan. Cairns is able to cover such a vast amount of time smoothly and effortlessly. It doesn't seem choppy or as if important times are missed. There is a good flow, it' ...more
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
The premise for this book sounded fascinating. The paranormal, romance, Africa’s cultural undertones about black magic and witch craft. I picked it up, eagerly waiting to see what the book was all about, and was very glad I had gotten it from Library Thing to read and review. After reading it, I can agree it is a fascinating story, but there was a lot about it I found not quite so interesting. Sandy Beech, the main character, does not believe in the supernatural, but things make him begin to bel ...more
Subhash Dawda
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it

This book could've easily been a 5 and just as easily been a 2. But for reasons explained below. It teeters at a not so satisfactory 3.

I loved the blurb and mystical cover of the book, and I just had to request an ARC. Luckily I got it.

So our story begins in beautiful Scotland with young Mr Sandy Beech who is into dark women, this leads him for a short but weirdly ending relationship with a Keny
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Witch’s List is the first part of a trilogy, the main character is Sandy Beech (great name) and he tells of his time at school and what happens with a certain book him and his friend come across at the library at school. It then describes his fun times before college, the love of his life and how poorly that ended up. Then when he is at university he meets a nun called Bernadette who warns him and basically tells him to stick with good Scottish lass as African women are dangerous. There is a ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sandy Beech is a good Scottish, catholic boy who doesn't believe in black magic, witches or anything involving the supernatural. He is quite sure there is a logical explanation for everything but, is he right?
Sandy is drawn to dark skinned women, especially those from Africa. His first girlfriend Gabriella is from Kenya but their relationship doesn't last, due to family pressure, on Gabriella's side and what they see as cultural differences. Although he is warned by a mysterious dying nun to sta
Kristine (A Cozy Booknook)
This is the first book of a trilogy and I found it to be interesting. This book explores the life of Sandy Beech from a young lad through early life. Sandy is not a believer in witch's, witchcraft, or black magic; he believes there si a logical explanation for everything. Sandy begins to witness events certain events that start creating doubts in his mind such as a burning book, a crucifix falling off the wall and a illness with no spcific cause.

Sandy knows her prefers African woman over any ot
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this novel for an honest review from NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing Ltd.
I copy of this review can be found on:

I didn't need to finish the book to know I had become a fan of Andrew Cairns. It is one of those stories that crawl under your skin and would stay there for ages, lasting and cruel, because you'll always recall reading; their words will always be a whisper in the back of you mind, a whisper, a caress of the soul.

The story unfolds at
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Witch's List is a first novel by Andrew Cairns. It is a rights-of-passage fictional piece set in Dundee, Glasgow, Paris and the Ivory Coast (West Africa).
The writing style is intimate, conversational and pacy, a bit reminiscent of some of Ernest Hemingway's work.
The story starts by recording the events of the main character, Sandy Beech's, high school days in Dundee. There was a lot of bullying, and fights were common, with our hero usually coming out on top.
The narrative then turns to st
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Andrew Cairns wrote "The Witch's List" in 2014-2015 - about fifteen years after a memorable one-month visit to the Ivory Coast in 1999. The book is inspired by some of the experiences and stories which he heard out there, and also by his experiences of growing up in Scotland and moving to France where he has lived/worked most of his adult life.
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