by Cynthia Chow
Check out these supernatural flavored mystery novels & enter to win copies of both! Details at the end of this post. Use the links provided to purchase these books & you help support KRL & an Indie bookstore.
What a Ghoul Wants: A Ghost Hunter Mystery by Victoria Laurie
M.J. Holliday and her reality television crew from Ghoul Getters return to England to shoot another episode after their last session in Dunkirk proved to be a bust. Although completely exhausted, the pressure to produce a successful show is on and M.J. has expectations that their shoot in the haunted Kidwellah Castle in the Northern Wales town of Penbigh will be full of ghostly appearances. What doesn’t help M.J. are the histrionic antics of her best friend and technical advisor Gilley that get them all delayed at airport security and nearly sent back to her condo in Boston. Jet lagged, sleep deprived, and battered by their producer’s suggested filing schedule, M.J. Is completely unprepared for the brutal attack by a menacing entity in the “VIP” section of the castle. She and Heath Whitefeather, her coworker and boyfriend, barely escape with their lives when a ghost nearly drowns them in the surrounding moat. The check-in clerk of the castle is not so lucky, as his body is discovered floating in the water the following morning.
It is soon discovered that poor Merrick Brown was only the latest victim of Lady Jane, the crazed ghost of Kidwellah who has a history of dragging poor souls into the moat out of revenge for her forced marriage to the brutal Duke of Lennox. Normally, even the threat of their ghost-hunting reality show’s cancellation would not be enough for M.J. to risk all their lives and continue filming, but her vision of Lady Jane holding her captured souls in chains compels M.J. to use what psychic skills she has to help them cross over. The murder of a famous fashion designer who was a fellow guest on a fashion shoot only spurs her on as she hopes to save the lives of the other very photogenic temporary residents.
Humor has always balanced out the spookiness of Victoria Laurie’s novels, but the over-the-top narcissism and selfishness of Gilley, who previously has been an annoying but redeemable character, goes so far past the point of likability that I began to cringe every time he entered a scene. A “ghost hunter” who is terrified of ghosts was initially entertaining, but that soon wears thin when the character overstays his welcome. Thankfully, the relationship between Heath and M.J. has grown so strong and to a mature level that they make up for the silliness of Gilley.
The paranormal history and lore of the castle is completely fascinating, and the method that the team uses to combat the spooks is entertaining with a strong scientific background that is surprisingly believable. Laurie continues to create a series that combines suspenseful tension with humor, romance, and mystery. M.J., left alone by the death of her mother and her father’s retreat into alcoholism, has also matured and grown into an engaging and very likable character, strong enough to carry the series into the future.
Click here to purchase this book from Mysterious Galaxy:
Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti: A Magical Bakery Mystery by Bailey Cates
After leaving her broken heart and a disappointing job in Akron, Ohio, budding witch Katie Lightfoot is finally settling in at her new home in Savannah as the head chef of her aunt’s Honeybee Bakery. Even more importantly, Katie has finally accepted her heritage as a green hedgewitch, a background that was hidden by her overprotective parents. In fact, she now feels so at home that she is willing to open her heart and have a picnic with one of her two suitors, hunky fireman Declan McCarthy. Unfortunately their date is interrupted by the startling sight of a man hanging from a tree, most obviously dead. Far more disconcerting though, is when Katie’s other prospective date, Steve Dawes, discloses that the victim was in fact a druid and part of a society headed by Steve’s misogynistic father. When Heinrich himself comes to warn Katie away from the club’s business and she finds herself under magical attack, Katie looks to her bookclub/spellbookclub of fellow witches for support, guidance, and a little magical help.
When one of the members of the “men’s club” actually comes to Katie for help, she and her witchy friends begin to investigate which of the society is intent on a power grab of unimaginable proportions. Even with her hands full of witch business, Katie still finds time to continue to bake delectable delights with added “special” spices while having to decide if she wants to let either, both, or none of the men into her life. When a detective is revealed to be a witch hunter the stakes are raised even higher and it will take all of Katie’s, and her fellow witches’, power to solve the murder and protect themselves.
Bewitched, Bothered, and Biscotti continues to showcase the charming characters, humor, and fun that was displayed in the promising debut of this series, Brownies and Broomsticks. The mix of romance with suspense is done with a careful hand, as the romantic complications never overshadow the mystery plot. Katie is shown to have grown and matured since the previous novel and it is a treat to watch her slowly accept and increase her talents. Cates successfully showcases her talent for creating fun characters and a plot that is engaging, compelling, and quite tasty.
Check out KRL’s review of a previous book in this series, Brownies and Broomsticks (scroll down the page to the second review).
Click here to purchase this book from Mysterious Galaxy:
To enter to win a copy of both of these supernatural mysteries, simply email KRL at life@kingsriverlife[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Supernatural”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 16, 2013. U.S. residents only.