by Cynthia Chow
& Nancy Cole Silverman
This week we have a review of the latest mystery by Nancy Cole Silverman, and a ghost related guest post by Nancy, perfect for Halloween. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a signed copy of The House on Hallowed Ground. There is also a link to purchase it Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
The House on Hallowed Ground: A Misty Dawn Mystery by Nancy Cole Silverman
Review by Cynthia Chow
Once the Psychic to the Stars with a celebrity client base built over thirty years, Misty Dawn’s business has diminished from its lofty status as a consultant to both the FBI and the First Lady. Relying on one of her most frequent customers Darlene Thorne, Misty takes up the realtor’s offer to housesit her late brother’s Southern California home until it can be sold. It seems that Oscar-winning set designer is refusing to move on, and Wilson Thorne remains a shade haunting his home and doing his best to irritate Misty. Retaining the same petulance he had in life, it’s only after Misty convinces Wilson that he has an obligation to help other spirits cross over that they reach a détente in sharing a “living” space together. What ensures Wilson’s cooperation is the arrival of celebrity actress Zoey, a fourth-generation descendant of Hollywood royalty who begs Misty for help. The Pink Mansion Zoey recently purchased and is restoring to its original appearance is being haunted by a pranking spirit, one who steals and hides items around the property. Chauffeured over by Wilson in his 1954 Jaguar (with British seating so as to not make the very illegal scenario obvious), he and Misty arrive at the Pink Mansion where they find police and a very recent death.
Zoey’s best friend and lookalike actress Lacey Adams drowned in the newly built Jacuzzi, and it’s not long before the death is declared a murder. Handsome Detective Romero doesn’t believe in what he cannot see, but Misty’s positive record with police investigations at least keeps his mind open when considering her advice. That’s going to be needed when Misty discovers that a spirit is indeed still haunting Misty’s home, and a séance only results in inviting a new one in. When evidence revealed, not just by forensics but by surprising outbursts at the séance, leads to Zoey being considered the main suspect, her pleas for help have Misty and Wilson following clues towards a very corporeal killer.
This debut series by the author of the Carol Childs mystery series is an absolute delight, introducing a lead heroine far more practical and rational than one would expect for a psychic. Taking over her share of eccentricities is instead Misty’s friend/client Denise, an actress obsessed with meeting Hugh Jackman. Holding onto the delusion that he is her soul-mate, Denise crosses over into stalker territory with her mission to meet the triple-threat actor. Wilson himself grows throughout the novel, becoming less of a temperamental poltergeist and more of an empathic guide to an adorable sprite. It is with the exasperated acceptance of a parent that Misty attempts to reign in both Thorne siblings, and their exchanges always bring moments of good-natured humor. Misty conducts a surprisingly grounded investigation, blending her intuition with some practical detecting. Paranormal scenes are gracefully incorporated throughout the novel, starting off an entertaining mystery series full of Hollywood eccentrics and capricious ghosts.
I Don’t Believe in Ghosts, but…
By Nancy Cole Silverman
I’m starting to learn there is no denying a character his or her way. Despite the fact, I may have created such a character from the blank pages over which I have slaved; they are—I can say with great conviction – in charge. Such is the case with my protagonist Misty Dawn, a minor character in my Carol Childs series, who, as I finished book five in that series, burst forth from the pages and demanded a series of her own.
Of course, I argued with her. But Misty being psychic assured me this was a good thing, and despite the fact I’d never written anything close to a paranormal, I had nothing to fear. And then from the wince of an entirely different conversation with my publisher, Kendel Lynn (Henery Press) a month later, came the question, “So what’s happening with Misty?”
“Yes,” Kendel said. “I’m waiting for it, what’s holding you up?”
Okay, so that was it. An idea I must have mentioned to Kendel years before, was now top of mind. I must have totally forgotten I had mentioned it to her.
Or had I?
You see, since beginning the Misty Dawn Mysteries, I’ve begun to wonder if perhaps some ghost-like presence has been sitting on my shoulder, planting ideas not only in my head but in the heads of those around me. Ghosts do that you know. And then, for the fun of it, has sabotaged me every once in a while to remind me who’s in charge.
Allow me to explain.
I’m a fairly well organized person. I like to keep things in their place; my closet is color-coordinated, my clothes seasonally arranged, and after working in a newsroom for years, I’m pretty good with deadlines.
But, since starting the Misty Dawn books, things have disappeared. Items I normally leave in a set place, i.e., my keys in a bowl by the door, shopping bags in the trunk of my car, and my shoes, if not on my feet, in my closet, started to vanish.
The inexplicable disappearance of any one item was hardly a reason to believe my life was about to go askew. Or that my normally placid, perfectly organized way of being had been unsettled by the presence of a poltergeist, who as I write this, I believe to be camped out in my office.
If you think I have taken leave of my senses, let me share with you that before I sat down to write the first of the Misty Dawn books, I had no problem with remembering or finding things I might have misplaced. I also feel it’s important to add that I knew nothing of psychics and didn’t really believe in them. However, being a recovering news addict—I spent nearly twenty-five years in a newsroom—I grabbed my reporter’s pad and set out to interview a few of L.A.’s more colorful oracles. I have to stress, I wasn’t interested in a reading, I had no interest in learning anything about myself—well, maybe a little; at least as far as the book went—but to learn something about how psychics worked, what they did, and what types of people visit them.
Did you know there’s such a thing as a psycho-holic?
Anyway, I came away with an earful, and a notebook of ideas on how Misty Dawn, a former Hollywood Psychic to the Stars, who had solved a major missing person’s case and was a well-respected consultant with both LAPD and the FBI. Which, as you might imagine, led this reporter to call LAPD, and ask if they had had any experiences working with psychics.
Their answer was a resounding, “No!”
Okay, so my belief in psychics and the spirit world had no basis in any research I had done. I couldn’t validate any supernatural experiences, and yet, there was Misty Dawn refusing to let me go.
So I began to write; making it up as I went along. Or so I thought. Ghosts by the way are miserable kleptomaniacs and keep caches. Hideaways where they store things they’ve picked up from people they choose to harass. How do I know this? Because shortly after I started The House on Hallowed Ground, I found my keys, my shopping bags, and gym shoes. They were in the trunk of my car. And, no, they weren’t there before! I come to accept it was a peace offering for starting the book.
But even more unnerving than the disappearance of personal items, was that during the course of my writing, entire scenes would disappear right in front of me. I’d be in the middle of a critical exchange between characters, and my delete key would take control of my computer. Like Pac-man eating his way across my screen, the letters in front of me would be gobbled up! And nothing, absolutely nothing, I did could stop it.
This by the way didn’t happen once, but three times.
I can’t explain it. I don’t believe in ghosts. I’m not so sure psychics know anything more than we all know, but I do know this; Misty Dawn will not be defied, and until I complete this series she is the driving force behind the books.
Now, if I can just find where I’ve put my glasses, I’ll get back to work.
Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.
To enter to win a signed copy of The House on Hallowed Ground, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “hallowed,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 12, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. The latest episode features a mystery short story told by a black cat-perfect for Halloween.
A mystery short story written by Nancy Cole Silverman was featured on our very first podcast:
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