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Ghost or Hallucination?

Forgotten Bones Book Cover Forgotten Bones
Dead Remaining Book 1
Vivian Barz
Fiction. Mystery, Suspense, Murder, Female Sleuths, Ghosts
Thomas & Mercer
July 23, 2019
302

An unlikely pair teams up to investigate a brutal murder in a haunting thriller that walks the line between reality and impossibility. When small-town police officers discover the grave of a young boy, they're quick to pin the crime on a convicted criminal who lives nearby. But when it comes to murder, Officer Susan Marlan never trusts a simple explanation, so she's just getting started. Meanwhile, college professor Eric Evans hallucinates a young boy in overalls: a symptom of his schizophrenia--or so he thinks. But when more bodies turn up, Eric has more visions, and they mirror details of the murder case. As the investigation continues, the police stick with their original conclusion, but Susan's instincts tell her something is off. The higher-ups keep stonewalling her, and the FBI's closing in. Desperate for answers, Susan goes rogue and turns to Eric for help. Together they take an unorthodox approach to the case as the evidence keeps getting stranger. With Eric's hallucinations intensifying and the body count rising, can the pair separate truth from illusion long enough to catch a monster?

Is this a ghost story or a murder mystery? It is up to the reader to decide but it encompasses both. We have a ghost – a very persistent and quite forceful ghost; but we also have a murder and mystery. Who is the ghost? And what happened to him? He was murdered, but how and by who, and where? Set in small town USA with a very small policeforce and not much money, we have female police officer with stickability and persistence and curiosity. All of which gets her into serious trouble as she tries to find out about the ghost boy. As she delves into his case, the FBI find a graveyard and that is where things begin to get strange for our heroine – and a professor (college lecturer) with his own mental issues that having a ghost visit doesn’t help I thought the suspense was well carried and it isn’t until the final stages of the last chapter that it all comes to be resolved and the final pieces of the puzzle fit together. The issues with schizophrenia were well narrated and explored and it was refreshing to find a character with these flaws who wasn’t a psychology expert as so many books seem to write them up as. The story is a little short and we should really have found out more about the other children –  the live ones as well as the dead ones. It would have helped fill out the story – perhaps someone could have list of lost children, ages, sexes; surely the FBI would be involved before the graves came to light?  What about the FBI officers? Could we know about them? This novel seems rather like a preliminary / prequel tale for a series that is  longer and more involved. It is good – as far as it goes. This is the first in a new series with our female detective and I look forward to reading further books.

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Strange inheritance

A Magical Inheritance Book Cover A Magical Inheritance
#1 (Ladies Occult Society)
Krista D Ball
Independently Published
28/5/19

Miss Elizabeth Knight received an unexpected legacy upon her uncle’s death: a collection of occult books. When one of the books begins talking to her, she discovers an entire world of female occultist history opened to her—a legacy the Royal Occult Society had purposely hidden from the world.However, the magic allowing the book to speak to Miss Knight is fading and she must gather a group of female acquaintances of various talents. Together, they’ll need to work to overcome social pressures, ambitious men, and tyrannical parents, all to bring Mrs. Egerton, the book ghost, back.

A really interesting book. I enjoyed the language used and storyline, and it had some excellent points made about the role of women in society at that time in our history. It is not a Regency romance. It is not light and frothy but serious in its discussions of family, marriage, education and inheritance in 1810. Not to mention men’s attitudes towards women and their very small heads that don’t contain enough brain power to be able understand Latin and Greek, riddles, puzzles, mathematics (other than household accounts),  let alone the Occult.

Now the Occult here is a type of magic, it combines supernatural, paranormal, spells and herbs and ghosts.

The novel tells us a lot about being frugal and what it really meant – wearing fabrics until the patterns fade and dresses until the seams fall apart, upon which time, the material is re-used for a child’s dress or a lining or…

I also like the idea of invalid food that was common – I wonder what our invalids would say if we fed them boiled turnips with a little butter, and bread soaked in the liquor left after boiling salt beef for hours.

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And the magic word is?

Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets Book Cover Amanda Cadabra and The Cellar of Secrets
(The Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries) #2
Holly Bell
humour, fantasy, female sleuths
Independently published
(24 Dec. 2018)

Amanda Cadabra, asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch with irascible feline familiar, always said that was no place for a research centre. The lost village in Madley Wood, where the leaves don’t grow, and the birds don’t sing.

An old secret. A new build. A body. Only one witness. Only one person who can see that witness: Amanda Cadabra.

Only one place that can tell the story: the Cellar of Secrets, in 1940. And only one person who can go there: Amanda Cadabra. With, of course, only one grumpy cat.

Only one person who might help: the personable but intractable Inspector Trelawney. But this is a peaceful English village … who would do anything as criminal as murder? Will she find them before they find her?

Please note that to help the reader to be immersed in Amanda's world, this British-set story, by a British author, uses British English spelling, grammar and usage, and includes accents, dialects and a magical language.

Well not abracadabra of course… What a strange name, but of course, one that is very memorable.

So we have a cosy mystery novel set in a strange village with ghosts and witches and hidden secrets.

At times, I thought I was reading a book for teenagers or for US readers who wanted to have a traditional English village with all the traditional English characters in it. Including funny names and so on.

That said, it was an enjoyable and humorous tale with engaging lead characters – Amanda herself and her feline familiar and the detective who can’t know the real truth about witch-craft, but sort of knows about ghosts.

Very light reading but ..

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