Tag Archives: paranormal mystery

Grim Reaper and PI – Charley Davidson at Your Service

first_grave_rightThe one New Year’s resolution I made that I am likely to keep is to read more books that have accumulated in my TBR pile. First Grave on the Right is the first of these. It was originally released in 2011 by St. Martin’s Press.With her eleventh book, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, out in the series this year, it seemed like a good time to check out Charley Davidson and her universe.

Charley Davidson is a fairly unique individual. She is a private investigator and a grim reaper. Charley is a fun, spunky, and sarcastic heroine. She would probably object to using the word spunky to describe her, but she is definitely “courageous and determined” if maybe occasionally reckless.

As part of Charley’s gifts as a grim reaper, she can see and communicate with dead people. Most of the dead move on into the afterlife fairly smoothly, but some have unresolved issues that they seek to resolve with help from Charley. In this case, there are 3 lawyers that are murdered. They have unresolved issues in that they all have something they want to be communicated to the beloved they are leaving behind and that they want to see whoever killed them put behind bars. As if that wasn’t enough for Charley, she is having sensual nightly visits from an entity she knows as Reyes.

So, First Grave on the Right is mostly a mystery with paranormal influences. The mysteries are solved with help from her assistant Cookie, her uncle who is a detective, and a dead gangbanger who has turned to helping Charley out.

There is also a touch of romance in the books because of her growing relationship with Reyes. She is desperate to know more about this “man” who has been visiting her nightly in her dreams. This becomes one of the mysteries she must solve.

The book is loaded with Charley’s sarcastic humor. Most of the time she knows when to stop, but occasionally she just can’t help herself.

“My calculations- allowing for a 12 percent margin of error, based on the radius of the corresponding confidence interval and the surgeon general’s warning – concluded that they probably didn’t stay behind for tacos.” (p.53)

I once signed up for an anger management class, but the instructor pissed me off.”(p.58)

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is an award-winning debut for Darynda Jones and I really enjoyed reading it. I needed something light to read, and this fit the bill perfectly. You will probably enjoy this book too if you like to read mysteries with a heavy dose of paranormal and a smidgen of romance.

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Well, bless her heart!

deader_homesWell, bless her heart! Verity Long is stuck with Frankie, the ghost of a 1920s gangster and is trying to make the best of it by becoming a paranormal investigator. Neighbors have been dropping by with casseroles and to gawk at her ever since this became public knowledge.

Now, Verity is desperately in need of funds for basics and to fix up the house where she and Frankie live. She agrees to take on a case at the oldest mansion in town, Rock Fall. Frankie is miffed at first that she agreed to it without consulting him. Then once he cases the joint, he gets scared and refuses to go inside.

The case ends up being twofold. What happened to the family that was living there – was it really a curse? And where did the Egyptian treasure go that was in the house? Her boyfriend Ellis, a deputy sheriff is anxious about her going into the home especially after she has a frightening experience there. Will Verity be able to solve the mysteries and help the ghosts to find peace? Will Frankie help her or be a hindrance? Will Ellis ever pick out curtains from among Verity’s choices?

This is a good, paranormal mystery. It’s well written, especially the characters of Verity and Frankie. The pace is good. There is just a touch of romance. I enjoyed the humor in the story. And there are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Deader Homes and Gardens by Angie Fox is #4 in the Southern Ghost Hunter Mystery series. It became available October 11, 2016.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

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Destiny, no escaping that for…

HauntedDestinyWell, no escaping the cruise ship Destiny and destiny for the people on board. The serial killer known as the Archangel Killer is on the loose on the ship after his latest murder in New Orleans. Will our heroes find out who it is before the next victim is found?

This is number 18 in the Krewe of Hunters series. The Archangel Killer is so named because of the way that he displays his victims in churches with saintly medallions at their throats. Jackson Crow, head of the Krewe of Hunters, has been assigned the case after having the ghost of one of the victims appear to him. Jude McCoy, a local agent in New Orleans, is assigned to work with Jackson. He doesn’t know that they both are capable of seeing and interacting with the dead.

After following what they think might be the killer on board the cruise ship Destiny, Jude has an occasion to meet Alexi Cromwell who works the ship’s piano bar as the entertainment. The more they interact, the more their attraction grows and the clearer it becomes to Jude that they are both seeing ghosts to his surprise, and not just the victim’s ghost.

The race is on though. They are expecting at least 3 more murders because there are 3 more medallions in the set that the killer has been using to mark his victims. Can Jackson and Jude keep people safe while searching for the killer and without causing a panic?

So, we have here a book with a strong mystery and a secondary romance. They work well together and I had my doubts as to how well it would work on a limited location like a cruise ship. I liked that the characters come to accept seeing the ghosts as unquestionable rather easily. So many books end up giving a lot of space to the denial of their abilities as part of the plot. The pace of the mystery  is good. It gradually increases until it’s solved. I found myself reading fast trying to find out who the murderer was and being somewhat surprised at the identity. There were some good red herrings in the pool of suspects.

Overall I give this book 4 stars out of 5. Both the mystery and the romance were handled well. It’s a good addition to the Krewe of Hunters series.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Review: Night Shift by Charlaine Harris

In a small town with a vampire, 3 were-tigers, a witch, a psychic, two fallen angels, and Night_shift_Harrissome humans, something shifty is going on. People are coming into Midnight, Texas and killing themselves at the crossroads. Whatever is responsible, it’s likely it will take teamwork to deal with it.

Lemuel, the vampire, is translating a book of ancient Etruscan which might just hold the key to what’s going on in Midnight currently and why the residents were all drawn to Midnight to start with. There is a bit of romance gone awry with Fiji and Bobo. And Fiji plays a rather central role in the book.

This novel wraps up a lot of the loose ends from the other 2 books while still leaving enough gaps that Ms. Harris could continue the series if she ever decided to do so. She has said more than once that this is a trilogy. And Night Shift is the third book.

Each character has some sort of role to play in the book. My only regret is that the character who is now running the gas station and convenience store isn’t fleshed out a little more. Even Teach and Madonna are more fully revealed.

I enjoyed the book. I give it 4 stars out of 5. It has good characters, a good mystery or two, and a good pace. I liked watching the characters work together to solve the problems they face. If you enjoyed the first two books in the series, then this is a must-read. If you like urban fantasy/paranormal stories, then you should check out this trilogy.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Anytime you can find humor in a difficult situation you win.

So Cesar Hawke must be a winner in Once Darkness Falls by SM Reine. This is #7 in the Preternatural Affairs series.

After a ruoncedarknessfallsde awakening by Fritz, Cesar is transported to Reno which has recently been devastated by the mother of all demons, Yatai. Someone in the Office of Preternatural Affairs (OPA) has screwed up and Cesar is tasked with finding out who before Lucrezia de Angelis shows up in Reno. Anytime he deals with Lucrezia, his career and his life are on the line.

Fritz tells Cesar, “Don’t trust anyone, especially me.” But there are usually a few people he can trust to some degree. His partner Suzy isn’t working with him, but has a separate mission. Malcolm Gallagher, a Union guy, seems to be helpful, but frequently drunk. Can he trust a Union guy? Something freaky is going on with the Union, people disappearing to who knows where.

As usual, Cesar is up to his ears in trouble and then some. But he’s still making wisecracks pretty much no matter what’s going on. You can count on him for witty banter in the face of danger. Cesar is the main character and my favorite in the series.

Aside from the humor, there is plenty of action and danger for all of the characters. Isobel is probably the only one who doesn’t see battle of some sort. The plot is fast paced and the book was hard for me to put down. I can hardly wait for the next one in the series to come out. Right now it’s tentatively scheduled for December of 2016.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5. It’s a well written, fast paced, paranormal mystery. If you haven’t given SM Reine a read yet, consider trying out one of her books. There are excerpts available on her website to give you a taste of things to come.

 

 

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A Man Walks Into a Hotel… Review of Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Day_shiftHarris Manfred Bernardo, psychic, is in Dallas to see clients. He does see the clients, but he also sees Olivia from back home in Midnight with an unknown couple who turn up dead the next day. Meanwhile, one of his regular clients ends up dead just as their reading is getting started. Her son Lewis is accusing him of having stolen her jewels from her purse. Somehow Manfred knows that Olivia can help him out and get things back to normal as fast as possible, as normal as things get in Midnight, Texas anyway.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, so to speak, Midnight has a hotel being mysteriously remodeled. Also, there are insights into the lives of the other Midnight residents with the exception of Teacher and Madonna who we really don’t know why they live in Midnight since they don’t appear to have any of the peculiarities that the other residents have. All of the other residents are special in some way, including the Rev, who didn’t seem to have much going on for himself has a visitor that brings his uniqueness to the forefront before the end of the book.

It’s an interesting book about the town and it’s occupants and leaves things open for the next book. It’s well written. There is a short appearance by a couple of characters from the Sookie Stackhouse series.

My biggest and perhaps only real disappointment in the book is that it seems we are going to learn more about Olivia and her background, which we do up to a point. But it seems like it’s going to play a bigger part of the plot, and instead it sort of fizzles out. It’s definitely wide open for action in book 3 though. My other disappointment is that there is little motivation for revealing the uniqueness of Joe and Chuy other than to inform us and make Madonna and Teacher stand out more.

Otherwise, it’s a good mystery. It’s pretty much a cozy since it’s solved by amateurs of sorts. And, of course, the overall book has paranormal overtones.

I give the book 4 stars. It’s well written and interesting. And it leaves you wanting to know what will happen next for the characters in Midnight.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Review: The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

This is the story of A. and Niamh, 2 very normal-seeming people. Niamh is mute and communicates mostly through written notes. A. has no such handicap.

A. inherits a house just outside of Point Bless, Virginis from a distant relative who has recently defenestrated himself committing suicide. He is now crazy rich and in possession of a huge mansion complete with a maze and a ghost.

A. starts having terrible nightmares. They write to Aunt Liza for advice and she tells them to destroy the bed. It’s acting  as a conduit. Instead, they search for what could be affecting the bed in the house. They find a sphere that when touched produces a large zap of electricity and the images of the dreams in his head again.

The butler is missing, but there is a note for him. This starts a whole chain of events. The letter is written cryptically. Further correspondence they find is written in code. There is a lot about ciphers in this book. While I am sure it’s really interesting to a lot of people, it just slowed down the story for me and I found myself skipping over those bits.

The action in the story generally happens at a good pace. I found it easy to get sucked into the book. It’s told as a series of journal entries, letters, notes, and audio and video recordings. The format sort of reminds me of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Other parts of the book reminded me of Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allan Poe. There was still a lot of originality to the story as well.

Overall I give this book 4 stars. The writing is good and absorbing. The format is unique. The plot is quickly paced. If you like this sort of thing, check it out. My local library had a copy. When I saw the cover and read the blurb, I couldn’t resist.

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