by Cynthia Chow
& Marilyn Meredith
This week we have reviews of 2 mystery novels from Valley authors-Marilyn Meredith and Cora Ramos. Both books have a paranormal twist to them. At the end of this post are details on how to win copies of both!
Spirit Shapes: A Tempe Crabtree Mystery By Marilyn Meredith
Review by Cynthia Chow
It was a perfectly overcast night for a ghost hunt, and ghost tour guide Lorna Collins was hoping to please her ghost hunters at the Wilkinson House, a long-vacant Bear Creek home built in the 1900s and still up for sale. Unfortunately, the dead entity they discover on site is pretty corporal, as it is the body of a teenaged “Goth” boy with, very suspiciously, two puncture wounds on his neck. Ghosts are one thing, but a vampire–that is something even these spiritualists can’t believe actually exists.
Bear Creek Deputy, Tempe Crabtree, is called first to the scene, taking along her husband, Hutch, for assistance. Although she still experiences a racist and sexist attitude from some police detectives, Detective Morrison values her skills and asks for her assistance on the case. While her investigation leads her to investigate whispers of Satanism at the local high school, her spiritualism and ability to sense spirits have her completely fascinated with the dark history of the Wilkinson House and a battle between good and evil.
Being a quarter Native American Yanduchi, Tempe has begun to find herself closely attuned to the spirit world. It sometimes places her at odds with her pastor husband, Hutch, but more times than not their beliefs intersect and aid one another in their investigations. Surprisingly, Hutch asks Tempe to look for additional support from Nick Two John, a Native American who has often butted heads with Hutch as over Tempe as Nick mentors and guides through a world completely foreign to Hutch.
In this appropriately numbered thirteenth Tempe Crabtree mystery, Meredith has created a strong character who has a refreshingly strong, yet complicated relationship with her husband. The spooky tone and paranormal elements make this an enjoyable read for any holiday season (just keep the lights on).
Dance the Dream Awake By Cora Ramos
Review by Marilyn Meredith
This tale was nothing like I expected. I know Cora Ramos from the San Joaquin chapter of Sisters in Crime and expected a straight mystery. Oh, there is plenty of mystery in Dance the Dream Awake, but there is much, much more.
Tessa Harper is plagued by nightmares about being a human sacrifice in a Mayan ritual. Because it is so realistic, it seems to be more than merely a dream. She makes a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula in hopes to find out more about the Mayan’s of that period in an effort to rid herself of the frightening nightmare.
Her visit is complicated by an archeologist, Nick Richardson, who uncovers some artifacts that may have something to do with the past that’s been filling her thoughts. She also meets Porfirio, whom she recognizes from her dream, and to further complicate what becomes a tangled web of sexual attraction, her new neighbor, Jack, becomes a confidante and would like to be more.
Beads and stones in Tessa’s possession hold more secrets to her dreams. Three cureanderas offer some answers to Tessa’s questions, but she’s not sure whether to trust them.
All of the plot threads weave in and out and around what is really happening and what continues to occur in Tessa’s dreams. Dance the Dream Awake is a definite page turner, filled with great characters and plenty of adventure and romance, and a surprising ending.
To enter to win a copy of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Valley,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 30, 2013. U.S. residents only.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.