by Cynthia Chow
This week we have a review of Clairvoyant and Present Danger by Lena Gregory, and a fun interview with Lena. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Clairvoyant and Present Danger, and a link to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.
Clairvoyant and Present Danger: A Bay Island Psychic Mystery By Lena Gregory
Review by Cynthia Chow
Despite being the owner of Bay Island’s psychic shop Mystical Musings, Cass Donnovan doesn’t actually believe she’s psychic. This hasn’t stopped the nightmares that keep her up at night, with the vision of the same woman making Cass fearful of falling asleep. It’s the resulting exhaustion that has her agreeing to do a reading for Artie Becker, despite her adoring dog Beast’s uncharacteristic growling reaction. Artie is searching for his missing daughter, but the vague information he provides, not to mention the waking vision Cass has of the woman, leaves them both unsatisfied and suspicious.
The massive Leonberger Cass recently acquired is long overdue for some dog training courses, but his discovery of a bone leads them both to an entire skeleton buried on the beach. Cass may have her doubts about her abilities, but the press and even police jump on the connection, with her best friend Bee Maxwell delighting in the result. Vandalism, break-ins, and yet another corpse herald in a less-than-promising Spring for Bay Island, especially considering the influx of reporters, shady strangers, and a few disturbing visions.
By this third in the series, Cass is learning to accept that her psychic practice is more than just instinct and background as a psychiatrist. Her readings with clients are some of the most entertaining moments of the novel, with Cass providing motivation, comfort, and some deft use of insight.
The mystery plays on the outskirts of Cass’s efforts to discover the identity of the woman who haunts her and if there’s a connection to Artie’s daughters, with the focus falling on Cass’s interactions with her friends. Bee could very easily fall into stereotype of the flamboyant gay best friend, but instead his steadfast loyalty and quick wit elevate his character while still serving up ample amounts of humor. Another friend is going through her own inner turmoil, and it takes a very patient Cass to provide support while still allowing for privacy. Overall, this is a very fun paranormal mystery, with a heroine supported by friends who reign in her impulsiveness with their practicality and love.
Interview with Lena Gregory:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Lena: I’ve been writing for about seven years, ever since my youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night.
KRL: When did your first novel come out? What was it called? Can you tell us a little about it?
Lena: My first novel, Death at First Sight, Bay Island Psychic Mysteries book one, was released in November of 2016. It’s about a former psychiatrist, Cass Donovan, who returns to her hometown of Bay Island after a particularly rough year, to open a psychic shop on the boardwalk. Unfortunately, trouble follows her. Thankfully, her friends Bee and Stephanie are there to help her sort things out.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense? If not what else have you written?
Lena: I originally wrote sweet romance and young adult fantasy.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series? Tell us a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book.
Lena: Cass Donovan is a former psychiatrist who returns to Bay Island to open her own shop, Mystical Musings. The idea for Cass’s character stemmed from a discussion between my husband, my daughter, and me regarding whether or not ghosts were real. I thought it would be fun to write a character who wasn’t quite sure if she was actually psychic or if she was really “talking” to ghosts. Since I live on Long Island, it seemed natural to write about a small, fictional tourist town between the forks [at the eastern end of the island]. Setting my story on an island also allowed for the isolation I wanted for “Occult and Battery, Bay Island Psychic Mysteries,” book two, when a blizzard blows in, halting ferry service to and from the island, and trapping Cass and her friends with a killer.
KRL: Do you write to entertain, or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Lena: I do write to entertain. I always hope readers will come away from my stories feeling happy.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing, or just write whenever you can?
Lena: I write whenever I can get a few minutes, but I especially enjoy writing early in the morning and late at night when the house is quiet.
KRL: Do you outline? If not, do you have some other interesting way that you keep track of what’s going on, or what needs to happen in your book while you are writing it?
Lena: I used to sit down and just write, but now, since most of my books are contracted before they’re written, I have to use an outline. Of course, sometimes my characters just refuse to do what I’ve outlined.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Lena: In the middle of the night is my favorite time to write. I can get lost in my writing cave for hours. Unfortunately, I pay the consequences the next morning.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Lena: At first, I contracted a few stories with small presses, then I found my agent, whom I love, and she suggested I give writing cozies a try. I still find it nerve-racking each time Dawn starts submitting my stories.
KRL: Do you have a great rejection, critique, or acceptance story you’d like to share?
Lena: My favorite acceptance story is my request from Berkley to publish the Bay Island Psychic Mysteries. My agent sent the query out, and she called me with an offer while I was in the middle of the Magic Kingdom with my husband and kids. That was an amazing vacation!
KRL: Most interesting book signing story in a bookstore or other venue?
Lena: No book signing stories, but I was very excited to find my first book in Barnes and Noble, and I did buy it.
KRL: Future writing goals?
Lena: I enjoy writing cozy mysteries, and I hope to continue my current series, as well as start two more, one paranormal and one contemporary.
KRL: Writing heroes?
Lena: Allison Brennan, Nora Roberts (J.D. Robb), Stephen King.
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Lena: I research everything: murder motives, methods of killing people, locations, laws, healing crystals, ghosts, recipes…
KRL: What do you read?
Lena: I used to read horror, but then my husband had to work overnight two hours from home for a while. After a few phone calls from me in the middle of the night, saying I heard a noise, he suggested I read romance. Unfortunately, I need a little action in my stories, so cozies seemed like the perfect alternative.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Lena: Arrow, The Flash, Agents of Shield, Lord of the Rings.
KRL: Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Lena: Never give up! I went through a lot of rejections before I finally found my niche. If you give up, the only thing you ever know is failure.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Lena: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed chatting.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Lena: I was a dance teacher and choreographer for more than 20 years.
KRL: Where can readers find you online?
Lena: Website – www.lenagregory.com
Twitter – twitter.com/LenaGregory03
Facebook – www.facebook.com/lena.gregory.986
To enter to win a copy of Clairvoyant and Present Danger, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “present,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 24, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.
Thank you so much for having me! I enjoyed visiting. And thank you for such a lovely review. I’m so happy you enjoyed the story 🙂
This sounds so good–I’d love to read it! firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you, Kara!
This is a new to me author and series, so I’ll put the books on my list to be read.
Thank you, Dianne! I hope you enjoy them 🙂
Fun interview! Thanks for the chance to win!
Thank you for entering 🙂
I love cozies that have dogs in them so I am adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for the review and interview. It would be nice to win.
Thank you 🙂 I hope you enjoy it!
This is a new author for me and i love the title and cover I would most enjoy reading ! email@example.com
Thank you! I hope you enjoy it 🙂
Looks like a good story. Love the cover.
Thank you, Bertha!
I really like the psychic aspect of this book. Can’t wait to read.
I love the Paranormal genre. This series is entertaining and I enjoyed the first book immensely. Unfortunately my local library never purchased the next one for me to read.
I’d love to win this book and start collecting them for my home library.
Thank you, Nora! I’m so happy you enjoyed the first book 🙂
New author to add to my list… Great interview!
I love paranormal books! Its interesting and I used to be in a paranormal group!!! Love books like these!
kckendler at gmail dot com
We have a winner!