Tag Archives: Paranormal

A Review of An English Heaven

Book cover for An English Heaven by Julie Bozza. Image on cover shows a closeup shot of some beautiful little pink flowers. Their petals are long, thin, and drooping a little. Title: An English Heaven

Author: Julie Bozza

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: December 15, 2017

Genres: Historical, Paranormal, LGBTQ+

Length: 12 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

A muddy trench in France during the Great War wasn’t the most auspicious place for Tom and Michael to reach an understanding of their own natures. A small, individual tragedy unfolds … But then Tom discovers a place beyond, where he and other men like him are blessed with all that life denied them.

Content Warning: Murder.

Review:

Healing comes in many forms.

This is one of those cases when it honestly doesn’t matter how much a reader knows in advance what is going to happen to the protagonist, so feel free to read the blurb or skip it as you prefer. What truly mattered in my opinion was how Tom reacted to the news that he did not survive World War I and will never again return to those muddy, dangerous trenches to fight another day. That is something I will not be digging into deeply in my review in order to avoid giving away any important spoilers, but it certainly gave me a lot of food for thought as I read this short and charming tale. Everyone reacts to unexpected news differently, and you can tell a lot about someone by what they say in the moments after the truth is revealed.

One of the things I adored about this tale was how it approached the idea of healing. Tom, the main character, was not only dealing with the trauma of war and his recent death, he’d also spent his entire young life hiding his sexual orientation. That, too, was a trauma he carried with him into the afterlife even though keeping such things hidden really was the only option for young queer men in the 1910s.

Obviously, there isn’t a lot of space for world building in only twelve pages, but I was impressed with how much Ms. Bozza was able to include. Tom was finally free to make his own decisions about what his existence might look like after death, and I was curious to see which one he might choose as all of them had their own merits. This would have made a great series, but it also worked really nicely as a quick dip into a world so full of possibility. A small taste of what might happen next was all I needed to imagine many possible endings for this character that would have fit his personality nicely.

An English Heaven was heartwarming and the perfect read for Pride Month!

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A Review of A Creak in the Night

Book cover for A Creak In The Night by by BL Maxwell. image on the cover shows a ghostly white mist floating through the dusty hall of an old house. The floors are made of pretty little tiles and there is a skylight in the ceiling. The mist looks like it is beginning to coagulate into a ghostly-shape, but it is still pretty formless and ethereal at the moment. Title: A Creak in the Night (Valley Ghosts Series)

Author: B.L. Maxwell

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: April 29, 2024

Genres: Paranormal, LGBTQ, Romance, Contemporary

Length: 41 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Dean surprises Jimbo with a weekend way to the exotic location of—Virginia. Since the two of them got married Dean has become more curious about the paranormal, while Jimbo prefers to distance himself from it. As soon as they arrive at the hotel Jimbo knows something isn’t quite right, and one ride in the elevator confirms it. What was supposed to be a romantic vacation soon turns into a ghost hunting mission, but this time Jimbo and Dean are on their own without the rest of the Running Scared Paranormal Research guys. Dean is thrilled, but Jimbo knows, it’s never as simple as a creaky elevator.

Review:

Content Warning: Characters getting stuck in an elevator.

It’s hard to find time for romance when ghosts are getting into mischief.

One of the interesting things about this short story was that I was never quite sure where it fit into the rest of this series. It gave me the impression that it was written a decent amount of time after the first book as it discussed some characters and events without going into them in great detail. On the other hand, this also felt a little too lighthearted to have taken place in the most serious phases of a series when tensions are running high. I enjoyed my attempt to figure out where this should be placed and didn’t mind one bit that it was never made clear. To the best of my knowledge, this was written to be an easy introduction to these characters and the exciting sorts of adventures they have while trying to clear disruptive spirits from all sorts of different buildings. There is definitely something to be said for releasing such a tale!

The communication between Dean and Jimbo was inconsistent. In some scenes, they wordlessly anticipated what each other needed before being asked, but there was also a moment when Dean purposefully withheld an important piece of information about this romantic trip from Jimbo. Obviously, there are times in just about any relationship when one might not communicate as clearly as they should for a wide variety of reasons, but I was still surprised by this oversight and didn’t think it fit in very well with what I’d learned about Dean’s meticulous and safety-conscious personality thus far.

I thought the paranormal storyline was handled nicely, especially given how short this piece was. Not every haunting needs a drawn-out  conclusion, so keeping things moving was a good choice for both the plot and the characters. It whetted my appetite for more and reminded me that, just like in life, it’s best not to assume in advance how easy or difficult something will be. Worrying doesn’t do any good, and just because one haunting was a tough case doesn’t mean that the next spirit will behave the same way.

A Creak in the Night was intriguing and made me curious to check out the rest of the Valley Ghosts adventures.

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Too Much Noise in a Empty House: A Review of The Estate Guards

Book cover for The Estate Guards by Kenny Wayne. Image on cover shows a three-story house that has lights shining through nearly every window. It is dark outside and lighting is striking the land behind the house and temporarily illuminating the sky. What a stormy night it is. Title: The Estate Guards

Author: Kenny Wayne

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: October 1, 2023

Genres: Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 29 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Kenny Wayne’s short ghost story, The Estate Guards, is the humorous tale of two brothers who can’t seem to keep from running afoul of ghosts.

Harley and younger brother James are providing security for an estate company at an eerie, old mansion whose elderly owners recently died in a tragic accident.

For the straightforward, down to earth, older brother Harley, it’s just a job. For younger brother James, who wants to be just like his older brother, it’s not so simple. Even though he would quickly say he doesn’t believe in ghosts, secretly he’s not so sure.

But after this particularly long night, any uncertainty he had about the existence of ghosts will be removed. The weird noises in the attic, and those upstairs bedroom lights that keep turning on and off by themselves are only the beginning. It’s the other strange late night occurrences that strips the last bit of doubt from James’ mind.

This night there will be strange enough occurrences to make even Harley a believer.

Review:

Dealing with ghosts is all in an honest day’s work, right?

The relationship between Harley and James was interesting, and I found myself wishing there had been more attention paid to the differences between them. It’s interesting to me to think about how wildly different siblings can be even though they were born to the same parents and more or less experienced the same sort of events growing up. Genetics are important, but they certainly can’t predict or explain anything as new readers will soon discover in this story.

I struggled to get to know all of the characters in this short story, especially since two of them were given most of the dialogue, but it was important to remain connected to everyone in order to understand the ending. There simply wasn’t enough space to develop everyone well enough for me to feel emotionally invested in what would happen to them. This is something I’m saying as a reader who normally loves both haunted house and humorous tales.

The humour took a little while to show up, but it was well worth the wait. I think this will be most appealing to readers who either come from a working class background or know a lot about such subcultures in some other way as the jokes weren’t always the sort of things generally included in funny tales about, say, doctors or lawyers. This was about salt of the earth sort of folks who quietly keep the world humming along without expecting or generally receiving any recognition of the myriad of things they do that ensure everyone has a safe and healthy life. The characters were hardworking and matter-of-fact which were exactly the traits they needed in order to make the ghosts believable and the twists worth a chuckle.

The Estate Guards made me smile.

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A Review of What Love Survives & Other Stories

Book cover for What Love Survives & Other Stories by DB MacInnes. Image on cover is a snapshot of someone in a cheerful yellow sweater walking away from their cozy little stone cottage outdoors next to a lake in the evening. There are mountains in the distance and the sky is overcast. The land where they are walking is grassy, flat, and brown as this appears to be late autumn. It looks a little chilly given how the wind is blowing the grass around and how tightly the person has their weather wrapped around them. This feels a little desolate but also quiet and peaceful. I get the impression this person loves being out in nature alone at this time of day as night approaches and knows exactly how to get back home safely before nightfall as they will have their home in full view and only about a five minute walk away at most once they turn around. Title: What Love Survives & Other Stories

Author: DB MacInnes

Publisher: Balfour & Breck Press

Publication Date: February 15, 2022

Genres: Speculative Fiction, Paranormal, Contemporary, Historical

Length: 61 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

Lovers in a room overlooking the North Sea, a missing boy on an island in the Hebrides, an itinerant saw-miller’s tragic accident in the forests of Argyle, these short stories–often with a historical and sometimes speculative flavour–offer a glimpse into a Scotland of magic and mystery. First published in literary magazines such as New Writing Scotland and Gutter, they have now been brought together in this haunting anthology.

Review:

Content Warning: Missing children, cancer, child being sent to orphanage, child being raised by a relative after the parents’ death, death of a child, divorce, job loss, disability, accidental injuries and deaths, alcoholism, and an affair.

Even quiet towns are filled with secrets if one listens long enough.

I thought I should give everyone reading this a heads up that these tales dabbled lightly with speculative fiction and paranormal themes. Most of their scenes could easily happen in our world, some could be explained with either supernatural or scientific perspectives depending on how you interpret certain key sentences, and a few were deeply rooted in the speculative fiction with no other rational way to interpret them. This is a writing style I happen to deeply enjoy, but it’s something I think should be shared in advance as not everyone feels the same way about stories that move so fluidly between genres.

The main character and his wife Clare struggled to look after their adult son, Jack, who was severely disabled in “What Loves Survives.” Many stories about children with disabilities focus on the early years, so I was intrigued to get a glimpse of what this can be like once a child grows up and ages out of so many of the governmental support systems that exist for those under the age of eighteen. It’s difficult to talk about the plot twists in this one without giving away spoilers, but I appreciated the protagonist’s realistic assessment of what his life was going to be like as well as the hope he cultivated while trying to do the best he could for his family.

One of the biggest strengths of this collection had to do with how the same themes popped up repeatedly. “The Boy Who Vanished” was the second-to-last instalment, and it reminded me so much of what I’d already read in a good way. Once again there was an innocent person in danger, a town that knew more than you might assume, and an ending that matched the beginning nicely. As the title so strongly alluded to, this was about a boy named Duncan who disappeared one snowy day and the people who still remembered him years later. The flow of the dialogue was especially smooth here as the characters discussed who this child was and what happened to him. It genuinely felt like I was eavesdropping on a real conversation and it made me want to read an entire book written from these characters’ kind and honest perspectives.

“The Sawmillers” began with a child accidentally getting lost in the woods on a chilly night. He was not quite old enough to think clearly in that situation, especially as the sun set and it grew even colder outside. I was intrigued by his predicament and wondered how he was going to get out of it as the adults in his life didn’t know where he was or even that he was in danger yet. While there were no grand plot twists in this tale, that didn’t matter. The journey and how clearly it was described to readers was what mattered, and I couldn’t stop reading until I knew how everything turned out.

What Love Survives & Other Stories was a fantastic introduction to this author’s work. I look forward to reading more.

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A Review of Giving Up the Ghost

Book cover for Giving Up the Ghost by Dean Rasmussen. Image on cover shows a drawing of a ramshackle old house just after sunset. The sky above is cloudy and quickly turning black as the sun slips beyond view. One of the windows in the house has a red light glowing menacingly in it. Title: Giving Up the Ghost

Author: Dean Rasmussen

Publisher: Dark Venture Press

Publication Date: June 28, 2021

Genres: Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 26 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

A gripping paranormal thriller to rattle your nerves…

A protective nurse pays a visit to an elderly dementia patient as a hurricane arrives, but discovers she can’t leave after getting caught up in the patient’s delusions.

Hanging House: An Emmie Rose Haunted Mystery thriller author Dean Rasmussen presents a terrifying new supernatural suspense tale.

His books will leave you gasping for breath and craving for more!

Review:

Content Warning: A character who has dementia and is on hospice care. Brief references to trauma. A small amount of blood. A stabbing. Murder. Suicide. Hurricane. I will only discuss the trauma in my review, and I will not share any details about what caused it.

Time can’t heal all wounds.

We all have pieces of our pasts that we’d rather not think about too much for a wide variety of reasons. One of the strengths of this short story had to do with how it framed Edith’s past and explained the many quiet ways it continued to shape her personality even now that was at the end of her lifespan. Trauma can haunt someone for decades.  While I will leave it up to other readers to discover what it is about this character’s past that she has never been able to forget, these scenes were interestingly written and made me wish for a sequel that could dive into this topic even more deeply.

I struggled with many of the decisions Jennifer made, especially given that she was a nurse who presumably had a lot of experience working with patients who have dementia and reacting quickly in emergency situations. She did not seem to know how to stay calm or to think critically about the facts in a crisis. Yes, she was going through something frightening,  and I am not saying I’d expect anyone to always make the right choices when under so much stress. This would have made more sense to me as a reader if her occupation had been something that should not have been an asset under these circumstances.

With that being said, I enjoyed Edith’s character development quite a bit. It’s rare to find books about frail, elderly, dementia patients, so I was incredibly curious to see how she responded to what was happening during the hurricane as Jennifer continued to make poor decisions. Not only was she in a completely different stage of life than her nurse was, her emotional and intellectual responses were equally refreshing and surprising. I don’t want to give away any spoilers about what happened to Edith, but I will say that this portion of the storyline played around with many audience expectations and made me curious to read more from this author soon.

Giving Up the Ghost was thought provoking.

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A Review of Confirm Humanity and Other Stories

Title: Confirm Humanity and Other Stories Book cover for Confirm Humanity and Other Stories by Ren Ellis. Image on over shows a drawing of a person with long, straight hair sitting on a banister and looking out at the cloudy, stormy red and yellow sky before them. You can see the bones in the person’s left arm and leg glowing through their black frame. Perhaps the bones are actually cybernetic? Or perhaps we’re looking at a sophisticated x-ray of this characters? It is unclear.

Author: Ren Ellis

Publisher: Port of Planets Publishing

Publication Date: March 27, 2021

Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 44 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb:

“Ren Ellis’s Confirm Humanity and Other Stories is a collection…filled with questions, intrigue, tears, and hope. Ranging from familiar to fantastical, the settings and the characters are diverse. Readers will definitely enjoy the eclectic and fantastical stories in Ren Ellis’s Confirm Humanity and Other Stories , and the collection’s element of humanity will hit home, reminding us of the pivotal moments that define us.” – Readers’ Favorite ★★★★★ Confirm Humanity and Other Stories is a collection of twelve short stories by Ren Ellis. Primarily comprised of speculative fiction stories, this collection ranges from slice-of-life to the supernatural and beyond. Genres
This collection uses imaginary tales as a lens through which to see the very real threats and struggles of our time. Extreme flooding and Venice-like canals reshape the famous city of Paris in “Deluge.” The fairytale stepmother casts new light on old tales in “The Stepmother’s Story.” Monsters meet the Marie Kondo method in “Monsters Welcome.” Other stories explore the paranormal world of “Red Rain”; the cosmic courses of “The Time Garden”, “The Welkin Tree” and “Winter’s Last Breath”; the dystopian worlds of “Life” and “Recycled”; and cycles of hardship and hope that will resonate with adults of all ages.

Review:

Content Warning: Miscarriage, climate change, and unjust imprisonment. I will not be discussing these topics in my review.

This was like a sample platter of speculative fiction that included a little bit of everything to go around.

The tired stepmother of Rapunzel, Cindy, and Snow had a lot to say in “The Stepmother’s Story,” a modern-day twist on a few classic fairy tales. I appreciated the hard work she’d put into look after her stepchildren and thought it was only fair that her perspective of their relationships be given a chance to shine. This was a short piece that took advantage of every single word in it to paint a vivid picture of modern family life. It made me chuckle and was a good thing to read as I settled into this collection. I only wish the father had been given a chance to speak up, too.

There were times when I felt like these tales didn’t have enough in common with each other to be included in the same collection. They were all over the place as far as themes, writing styles, and messages go. While I certainly wouldn’t expect all or even most of them to repeat one another, it was a little disconcerting for me as a reader to leap from something lighthearted to much more serious and sometimes difficult themes just a few pages later.  This is something I’m saying as someone who has read, written, and reviewed speculative fiction for many years. Either approach is a valid one, but I would have preferred to have a better idea of what to expect next each time I flipped the page.

Many paranormal stories are – or at least try to be – frightening, so I enjoyed the humorous slant of the unnamed protagonist of “Dancing on Graves” finding amusement in watching her dead neighbours dance on their own graves after dark. This was another very short piece, but the power in it came from the single moment in time it captured and how the main character reacted to such a surprising and lighthearted event. The imagery in it was lovely, too, and I would happily read an entire book about these characters if one ever were to be written.

Confirm Humanity and Other Stories was a fun assortment of various types of speculative fiction.

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Paranormal Business: A Review of Ghosted

Book cover for Ghosted - A Short Story by H.L. Burke. Image on cover shows a a drawing of the silhoutte of a black cat who is standing on a brick wall with its back arched under the light of a full moon. You can also see the branch of a nearby tree hanging over the cat. The branch has several leaves on it. Title: Ghosted – A Short Story

Author: H.L. Burke

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: October 15, 2020

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 18 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

Ghosts thrive on fear, but Maisie just isn’t delivering. In fact, Lazarus isn’t even sure she realizes she’s being haunted.

When expert haunter, Lazarus Bently, receives a cry for help from a fellow ghost, he rushes to the chaotic cottage of eccentric artist Maisie. If Ghost HQ finds out Lazarus couldn’t get a rise out of this little old lady, he’ll never live it down.

With his professional pride on the line, can Lazarus get through to this unshakable woman? Or will this unbeaten scarer be the one quaking in his boots?

Review:

You don’t have to be a big fan of being scared to enjoy this one!

Artists aren’t easy to scare…especially someone as independent and creative as Maisie. I adored the descriptions of how she worked on her paintings and drawings in her cluttered and messy but also warm and inviting home. She was the sort of antagonist that I can’t help but to root for because she genuinely didn’t realize she was annoying her resident ghost at all. After all, who has time to worry about the spirit world and what it wants from the living when there are countless ideas out there to try to commit to paper or canvas? Her self-absorption was understandable given how quirky she was in general, and it also matched the ghosts’ frantic attempts to frighten her beautifully.

The world building was amazing as well. The author only had about eighteen pages to work with here, so it was impressive to see just how many descriptions of paranormal society and how the dead were expected to interact with the living she managed to pack into such a small space. While I would have happily read another few hundred pages about the complexities of it all, I was also content with what I was given and finished the last scene with a chuckle.

Speaking of the ending, it couldn’t have been better. This piece played around a lot with everyone’s expectations, including the ghosts, Maisie, and even those of us who participated in it simply by reading. I don’t want to share too many details and accidentally give away spoilers, but what I can say is that Ms. Burke is clearly well-versed in both the fantasy and paranormal genres and knew exactly how to tweak her plot twists to bring out the funniest aspects of being a ghost, being haunted, and even of wanting to read about a haunting gone terribly wrong in a silly, not tragic, sense of that phrase.

Ghosted – A Short Story was cozy, sweet, and hilarious.  If you need a palate cleanser between checking out more serious works, I highly recommend starting here.

 

This post was edited on March 31, 2024 to include a link to Berthold Gambrel’s review of it. He was inspired to try it by reading this post! 

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Persistence: A Review of Ghost Coach

Book cover for Ghost Coach by Amanda Linehan. Image on cover is a closeup photo of some white satin or silk sheets on a bed. The sheets are a little rumpled. Title: Ghost Coach

Author: Amanda Linehan

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: January 10, 2015

Genres: Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 15 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Sarah hasn’t been sleeping well. Turns out, she has a ghost in her house. But this ghost has a problem.
And only Sarah can solve it.

Review:

Content Warning: brief reference to blood, a dead animal, and a ghost with a severe head injury. I will not discuss these things in my review.

Even ghosts need a little tutoring sometimes.

I adored the fact that Sarah was oblivious at first to the ghost’s attempts to scare her. She had such a logical and calm personality that the spirit of a dead person was the last thing she ever would have suspected to be the cause of the fluctuating temperatures in her bedroom. This was a nice change of page from the sorts of characters who generally populate this genre, and I found myself wishing for just a few more scenes with her in them so I could get to know her even better.

The beginning and middle of this tale did not quite match the ending due some references to blood and gore in the last few scenes. While other style could have worked for this piece, I have to say that I preferred the lightheartedness of the first two-thirds of it to the more violent – albeit still sort of humorous – tones at the end and wish that the author had stuck to one style or the other for the entire thing. Some readers will love both, of course, and that’s totally normal and okay, but in my experience these two approaches do tend to attract different audiences whose interests may not overlap here as much as the author might hope they would. Sticking to one lane would have made this a more effective and memorable story in my opinion.

There are only so many things someone can do after death to amuse themselves. It made perfect sense to me that the ghost would eventually want to interact with the living in order to get some sort of mental stimulation and socialization, as one-sided as those experiences could often be depending on who they were haunting and how that person reacted to suddenly having their covers pulled away or their television turned on in the middle of the night.

Ghost Coach was a funny, playful, and occasionally a somewhat dark take on the haunted house genre.

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Small Town Woes: A Review of The Curse of Three

Book cover for Makepeace and Grimes: The Curse of Three: A Gaslamp Gothic Mystery of Victorian England by Kevin Partner. Image on cover shows a photograph of a middle-aged white man who has salt and pepper hair standing in a graveyard at night. He’s looking straight at the viewer with a serious expression on his face as if he just heard something strange there and wants to see if you heard it, too. He’s wearing a late 1900s-style hat that had a wide brim and is raised a little over his head. Title: The Curse of Three (Makepeace & Grimes Book 1)

Author: Kevin Partner

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: March 4, 2021

Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Historical

Length: 49 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb:

Who would you choose to investigate the disappearance of three children?

A man and a vampire. Of course

It’s 1872.

Ichabod Grimes, mysterious defender of humanity, and his vampire friend Valentina, travel to a quiet village in Essex to find the missing children.

They uncover a sinister three hundred year plot that will see the return of a long forgotten evil.

Who is Ichabod Grimes? Find out now.

Review:

Content Warning: Kidnapping, a few mildly racist remarks,  and a few references to blood.

Rural doesn’t always mean peaceful.

One of the best things about this tale was how it explored life in a small village in 1872 and allowed readers to quietly compare it to how people behave in contemporary times. Obviously, there have been a lot of societal changes between then and now, but human nature has more or less remained the same. I smiled and shook my head as certain villagers showed fear and distrust of outsiders as the same thing continues to happen in many communities to this day. This pattern repeated itself a few times more and I continued to take note of how similar small towns – and people in general – often are to the way things were more than a hundred and fifty years ago.

I would have liked to see more clues included given the fact that it was a mystery (among other genres). While it’s certainly tougher to do so in the short story format given the limited amount of space an author has to work with, there weren’t enough hints about what was going on for me to come up with theories about who might have kidnapped the children or what they were planning to do with them. This meant that I wasn’t as emotionally invested in the ending as I could have been, although I did still enjoy seeing how Ichabod went about interviewing everyone and trying to piece things together. There is a sequel to this, so my hope is that it and any future instalments will dive much more deeply into the mystery storylines as I liked everything else about this universe.

This was my first introduction to Mr. Partner’s work, and I immediately liked his straightforward and sensible writing style. He seems to be the sort of writer who only describes people and things in detail if those descriptions push the plot forward in some way or if they’re otherwise necessary in order to understand what’s going on. While I do appreciate more flowery writing styles on occasion as well, this minimalist choice suited this particular tale nicely. Something tells me that Ichabod would have approved of a no-nonsense account of his first mystery as well. Perhaps this is one thing that the protagonist and the author share in common? At any rate, it worked and I’m glad it was written this way.

The Curse of Three was a quick, fun read.

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A Review of Who’s Haunting Whom

Book cover for Who’s Haunting Whom: A Ghost Story by Kenny Wayne. Image on cover shows two figures standing outdoors at night in front of an eerie blue-green light. The figures are wearing hooded cloaks and appear to be bending over to look at something, but it’s too dark to tell who or what they may be inspecting. Title: Who’s Haunting Whom

Author: Kenny Wayne

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: January 30, 2020

Genres: Paranormal, Contemporary

Length: 20 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

Paranormal investigators, with years of experience, are called to the scene of a haunting. That’s their job and they do it well, but this time they’re just not sure Who’s Haunting Whom.

Fred Madison once experienced a life changing event… a haunting. That one event changed the course of his life. He now owns the Madison Paranormal Investigations Agency. His mission in life is to gather irrefutable evidence of the existence of ghosts and to help those that are being tormented by hauntings.

Harley Stinson has been around the block a few times himself. He has had his own experiences with ghosts and has worked with Fred ever since his first sighting.

Experienced as they both are, they have never experienced anything like the case they are about to undertake.

What if the homeowners that hired them aren’t whom they appear to be? What if the ghosts they’re supposed to remove aren’t whom they appear to be?

You’ll enjoy this short ghostly tale as you follow along with the investigators in their attempt to determine exactly what’s going on.

Review:

Content Warning: accidental death

Without trust they’ll have almost nothing at all.

I enjoyed the way this tale played around with the reader’s expectations of what was going on. Anyone who is well-read in the paranormal genre will probably be able to figure out what was happening early on, but putting those clues together was only the first step. Knowing why certain characters behaved the way they did was even more important and it took extra effort to untangle. People are endlessly interesting, and they were what made this worth reading in my opinion.

Linda Morgan, one of Fred and Harley’s clients, had a phobia that overshadowed the first scene but then was never mentioned again. I was confused by why something like this would be included if it wasn’t actually relevant to what was happening in that strange little house. There was a lot of space here to flesh out both her character as well as the storyline itself, so it was disappointing to me as a reader when it fizzled out instead.

The relationships between Fred and his employees was also well worth exploring. He seemed to have subconsciously arranged them in a particular order that did not always line up with how useful I thought they might be as he attempted to figure out what was actually happening with this case. As much as I would have liked to dive more deeply into the assumptions he made about which people would be most helpful, I also thought that leaving those moments the way they were revealed a lot about Fred’s character in both positive and negative ways. On the one hand, he was a decisive person, while on the other he was someone who could be too quick to brush an employee off if they didn’t fit his mental image of who he thought should be exploring that home. If the author ever decides to write a sequel, this would be a great mixture of traits to explore even more deeply.

Who’s Haunting Whom was a fun twist on the paranormal genre.

 

 

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