by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Give Up the Ghost, and a link to purchase it.
When historical home contractor Melanie “Mel” Turner accepted the Pacific Heights project from millionaire venture capitalist Andrew Flynt, she thought that seeing its stripped-down modernization would be the most horrific sight she would encounter. The cheap, house-flipping previous renovation might be offensive in her perfectionist eyes, but it doesn’t compare to the discovery of the body of Chantelle, the very pricey psychic Andrew Flynt hired to clear out the ghosts haunting his Crosswinds mansion. Paranormal activity was scaring away prospective buyers, and it was a consultation with Chantelle that recommended reinstalling all the removed antique fixtures in order to appease the hostile and displeased ghosts.
Mel may have accepted her recent designation as a negotiator between residing ghosts and new homeowners, but she is justifiably disturbed by her increasing encounters with corpses. This time, though, it was Chantelle’s brother who was first on the scene and this connection has Mel feeling somewhat responsible for the British genius inventor/mathematician. Believing that the secret haunting of the ghosts of Crosswinds may be related to Chantelle’s murder, the doubting math professor is drawn into Mel’s research of the beautiful Victorian, the Flynt family, and the secrets both have been hiding for years. Along the way Mel agrees to help a group of displaced college students driven out of their rental by a surprisingly cleanly poltergeist, and manages to pick up a desperate, disappearing hitchhiker.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this series is Juliet Blackwell’s vivid depiction of the San Francisco and Oakland settings. Blackwell very entertainingly and accurately reflects the rivalry between the two neighboring cities, as well as the former’s condescending attitude toward the latter. She lovingly revels in descriptions of Victorian homes, and anyone who has had a home renovation will be fascinated by the unending details required by a restoration project. Mel’s practical if contradictory behavior–designer dresses are matched with construction boots—perfectly melds with the matter-of-fact attitude she has toward her interactions with ghosts.
In this sixth of the series the author realistically intersperses elements of the paranormal with engrossing details vital to home renovation. Mel’s admiration for her retired father, and her very mature realization about her personal relationship, enhance this very suspenseful and compelling mystery.
To enter to win a copy of Give Up the Ghost, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “give ghost,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 26, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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