by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of No Ghouls Allowed, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.
Ever since the death of her mother, the relationship between M.J. Holliday and her father has, to put it mildly, been strained. Although M.J. is initially shocked to hear the news that her father is engaged, she agrees to drive back home to Valdosta, Georgia to meet his new fiancée, the wealthy Christine Bigelow. Upon arriving with her friend Gilley Gillespie and her boyfriend Heath Whitecastle, M.J. has the unexpected but welcome discovery that Montgomery Holliday has reverted back to being the loving father she remembers before her mother died of cancer.
While M.J. is delighted by the transformation of her father and how Christine seems to have brought sunshine back into his life, less welcoming is the curse workers are blaming as the cause for dangerous accidents that are plaguing Christine’s latest renovation project. With their resumed relationship going so well and having her father actually approve and like her boyfriend, how can M.J. not use her own ghost-communicating gifts and enlist her fellow ghost busters into checking out Christine’s mansion?
They may call themselves a “Scooby Gang,” but stars of the television show Ghoul Getters are completely unprepared for Porter Mansion and the menace within. A violent attack on the trio and their van is only a sliver of the evil violence to come as they discover the unimaginable extent and power of a perverse entity. A connection to M.J.’s late mother only amplifies the urgency to stop the threat that seems to have a specific interest in M.J.
M.J. has always been the strongest asset of this series, as she is a character so engaging, vulnerable, and devoted to her friends that readers can’t help but cheer for her as she battles against forces from beyond. Her personal struggles and sense of alienation make her imminently relatable even though she has paranormal gifts, and more than a little of her geniality stems from her sharp humor and wit. M.J.’s tragedy and blessing is that she must rely on Heath to convey direct messages from the spirit of her mother, and this current case has M.J. facing the emotional impact that her mother’s death has had on her family.
Laurie also authors the Abby Cooper Private Eye mystery series, and I constantly waver between which is my favorite. I’m delighted to find that this series, which leans more heavily on the paranormal aspect, has only become stronger as M.J. develops her powers to help spirits cross over and gains confidence in herself. Gilley remains a stress-eating, ghost-phobic ball of neurotic needs, but the stay with his mother reveals how M.J. and Gilley became a supportive family. after the death of her mother and estrangement from her father. M.J. and her friends continue to prove that they have the necessary trust, affection, and good-natured sardonic outlook required to more than match this malevolent spirit in an extremely compelling blend of suspense, humor, family drama, and even horror.
To enter to win a copy of No Ghouls Allowed, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Ghouls,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen January 10, 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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Click on this link to purchase this book and you will be supporting an indie bookstore & a portion goes to help support KRL.