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Supernatural Business: A Review of Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen

Book cover for Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen (Lovelace & Wick #1.5) by Jennifer Rainey. Image on cover shows a black and white drawing of a woman wearing a late 1800’s style dress and a large, floppy hat. There is a small ruffle of fabric around her neck as the dress covers up every bit of her torso and arms and much of her neck, too. This drawing is surrounded by a drawing of a Victorian-style floral frame that has been drawn on top of a red, wallpaper-like surface. Title: Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen (Lovelace & Wick #1.5) by Jennifer Rainey

Author: Jennifer Rainey

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: August 30, 2017

Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, LGBTQ

Length: 79 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

As a demon, Iago Wick has made quite a career out of conjuring mischief and mayhem in the name of Hell, but this time, perhaps he’s gone a bit too far.

After deliberately foiling the plans of a spoiled vampire—all in the name of fun, really!—Iago discovers that the vampire in question is no ordinary bloodsucker. She’s the newly-appointed matriarch of one of the oldest vampire families in America, and she’s very angry.

Soon, Iago is caught in a war with the vampires and their cyborg servants. Will he settle his score with the clan of bloodsuckers or will Iago find himself at the mercy of the Vampire Queen? What precisely is the matter with those strange cybernetic servants, anyway? And most importantly, will Iago ever get the smell of garlic out of his clothes?

“Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen” is a 17,000-word short story prequel to The Lovelace & Wick Series.

Content Warning: Murder and kidnapping. I will not mention these topics in my review.

Review:

Supernatural business is nothing to mess around with.

I enjoyed the quiet and unassuming small town setting. Honestly, the residents of Marlowe probably wouldn’t have believed what was going on behind closed doors in their sleepy community even if one of the main characters had decided to reveal their true identities to everyone. Peaceful places are a good option for hiding in plain sight, and I liked the way the author showed the many ways in which awful deeds can done right under the noses of people who think they know all of the local gossip already.

This novella had a dry sense of humor that I struggled to connect with due to the terrible things that were simultaneously happening to so many of the human characters. I’d read about either one of these things on their own, but the combination of them simply didn’t work for me as a reader. It felt a little too flippant to move between an edgy joke and another description of the ways in which vampires harm the humans around them. This is a subjective piece of criticism, of course, and I’m sure there are a lot of readers out there who love this sort of dark writing style. I’m simply not one of them, and I found myself wishing I could stick to the more lighthearted elements of the plot and skip over the rest.

With that being said, Iago’s personality was such an interesting one. There was a strong, sharp sense of danger surrounding him due to the fact that he’s (obviously) a demon and therefore not exactly the most wholesome fellow around. He had his own moral code that often didn’t match up to what a human might consider a reasonable or kind thing to do, but I did admire the way he stuck to it no matter who or what might have tempted him to break the rules of hell just once.

Iago Wick and the Vampire Queen was a playful read.

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A Review of Tapping at Twilight

Title: Tapping at Twilight Book cover for Tapping at Twilight by Kassandra Alvarado. Image on cover is a close-up photograph of an old-fashioned wooden door that has an iron hinge and knocker. Both the hinge and the knocker are rusting, and the wood on the door is cracking with age.

Author: Kassandra Alvarado

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date:  February 26, 2013

Genres: Paranormal, Historical

Length: 7 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

A quiet London evening is disturbed by quiet rapping at the door, who or what could it be?

Review:

Visitors aren’t welcomed here.

Ms. Alvarado had a descriptive writing style that pulled me into the storyline before I even finished the first sentence. Seriously, it was that fast!  I adored her use of alliteration and the vivid manner in which she described even the most ordinary details of the setting. There is nothing like settling into such crisp writing while allowing it to carry you away to a faraway time and place. She is clearly a talented writer, and I hope to read more of her work soon.

With that being said, I did find myself wishing for much stronger plot development as I read this. I had so many unanswered questions by the time I finished the seventh and final page of it. By no means did I expect everything to be resolved, but it was disappointing for me as a reader to experience a rapid buildup of tension and intrigue only to be left hanging at the end about what was going on with all of the rapping at the door. As much as I wanted to give this one a higher rating, the sudden and unsatisfying ending dampened my enjoyment of a tale that was otherwise delightful.

The protagonist’s character development was well done, though. Mister Westerfield was a sympathetic man who had been denied his greatest wish in his youth by his disapproving parents. Now that he was old and settled in life, he finally had the opportunity to make some of his own decisions about how to pass the time. It’s not as common as it ought to be for narrators who are senior citizens to be the centre of attention, so I relished getting to know this character and imagining what adventures might still await him in life.

Tapping at Twilight had an old-fashioned feel to it that suited the subject matter nicely.

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A Review of The Killer Catfish of Cape Cod

Book cover for The Killer Catfish of Cape Cod by Bill Russo. Image on cover shows a few dead trees in a flooded area that could be a swamp or the overflow area for a river. The sky above the trees is blue with a few puffy white clouds in them, and you can see a forest of healthy trees in the distance. The water looks like it has been recently disturbed as it is not perfectly still.Title: The Killer Catfish of Cape Cod

Author: Bill Russo

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: September 9, 2017

Genres: Horror, Contemporary

Length: 26 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

This is not a Halloween story though you might find monsters in it, depending on what your definition of a monster is. Rather, it is the tale of two young men in search of an eerie pond they read about in a book – a strange lake said to be filled with man-eating catfish. Against the counsel of a wily old Cape Codder who claims there’s no truth to the story, they venture into the wild, uninhabited area in hopes of collecting specimens to sell to a museum in Maine. You could go to that Museum (It really does exist) and see if there are any collections of Killer Catfish on display – or if you find it more convenient, you may read the story!

Content Warning: Murders. I will not discuss it in my review.

Review:

If you know better, will you do better?

There wasn’t a lot of time for character development in such a short piece, but Mr. Russo definitely made the best of what he had. I especially enjoyed getting to know Anse, a slightly crusty old man who worked at a tackle shop and often gave tourists advice on the best fishing spots in the area. He was a little gruff at first glance, but he had excellent reasons for coming across this way that I’ll leave up to other readers to decipher for themselves. Honestly, I probably would have behaved the same way if I were in this character’s shoes. He didn’t exactly live in the safest part of the world, after all, and dealing with constant streams of visitors who weren’t always keen to listen to reason only made things worse.

I liked Anse’s explanation for why Rico and Angelo, the visitors, decided to brush aside his warning and go fishing at Kaycee Pond despite its scary reputation. Not everyone in the world has common sense or is willing to consider other points of view. Sometimes this only leads to minor inconveniences, but occasionally it can be wildly dangerous to ignore the advice of people who have many years of experience on a specific subject like, say, catfish that are much larger and smarter than they should be.

The ending was perfectly frighting. While I can’t go into much detail about what happened in it without giving away spoilers, I can say that it added new layers of meaning not only to everything Anse already knew about that area but also to why nobody lived near that pond anymore and why everyone else in the area was also terrified of getting too close to the water. This was one of those cases when basic details about what happened were more than enough to tickle my imagination and make me feel very glad that fishing isn’t one of my hobbies.

The Killer Catfish of Cape Cod made me shudder.

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Going Home Again: A Review of Forgotten Homeland

Book cover for Forgotten Homeland - An Exmoor Ghost Story (A Lorne Turner Novella) by Joe Talon. Image on cover shows someone walking alongside an old stone cottage on a foggy day. They are so bundled up in their coat you can’t tell their sex, race, age, or anything else about them other than the fact that they seem to be roughly adult-sized (or a very tall preteen). The fog is so thick that you can see only the faintest outline of what might be a tree in the distance. Everything you can see has been washed out by fog and looks kind of grey. There are three birds flying overhead the person who is walking. Title: Forgotten Homeland – An Exmoor Ghost Story (A Lorne Turner Novella)

Author: Joe Talon

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: November 17, 2021

Genres: Mystery, Paranormal

Length: 58 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

Lorne Turner, a broken soldier, arrives home for the first time in twenty years to an empty, lonely farmhouse on Exmoor.

The coming days reveal the despair of a farm drowning in debt. The coming nights reveal something far worse.

Lorne doesn’t know if the noises, the crack, crack, crack, are the wind ravaging the moor, memories savaging his mind or the ghosts tearing the veil, begging for help.

This is a short novella which is an introduction to the Lorne Turner Mysteries. The whispering of Exmoor’s dead need justice.

Content Warning: A character who has war-related PTSD (including flashbacks to battle scenes) and who occasionally drinks too much alcohol; a (probably?) accidental death; a  character whose leg was badly broken in an accident.  I will briefly mention them in my review.

Review:

A quiet, peaceful countryside life in the family farmhouse sure sounds nice…but that’s not at all what’s going on here.

Lorne’s character development was handled beautifully. I’m lenient about how much of this I expect in shorter works given the very limited amount of space they have to work with, but no such grace was necessary here. Mr. Talon excelled at packing dozens of facts about Lorne’s personality, tragic backstory, and personal development into nearly every single scene in this novella. He couldn’t have done a better job at making this character come alive in my imagination, and I wasn’t about to stop reading until I knew how this would end.

One of the cool things about the paranormal storyline was how intertwined it was with everything else that was going on: serious financial difficulties, a missing girl, the protagonist’s struggles with post traumatic stress disorder, unresolved grief, and so much more. This gave the ghostly elements of the plot an even stronger reason to be included as it wasn’t immediately clear how much of them were genuinely happening versus whether any of them might have been influenced or even accidentally misinterpreted by Lorne’s already fragile state of mind. He was so preoccupied by his horrendous memories of the war and the physical and emotional pain he still carried from his injuries there that he didn’t always know what was happening around him, after all. This is something I’d especially recommend to readers who may not typically be into ghost stories but who are open to trying an excellent example of what this genre can be like.

I also appreciated the fact that not every conflict was wrapped up neatly. While I did feel a sense of closure about some of the short term conflicts, there is still ample room here to dig deeply into everything that can’t be fixed in a few dozen pages. Some problems need much longer periods of time to be addressed, and I’m glad that nothing that required such extensive work was brushed under the rug. What an exciting way to begin a new series.

Forgotten Homeland – An Exmoor Ghost Story was utterly perfect.

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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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Speaking the Truth: A Review of Foo Foo

Book cover for Foo Foo by Patrick Riot. Image on cover is a drawing of a someone wearing a hat shaped like a bunny’s head. The hat is white and has two long rabbit years, once of which is partially bent over. The insides of the ears are red. The person in this image does not have a face. Perhaps they are a mannequin? Title: Foo Foo

Author: Patrick Riot

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: September 29, 2011

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling

Length: 39 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

The mice of the Squeak Republic have been attacked by rabbits! Can Milton keep his neighbors from going insane in the face of an overwhelming, shadowy fear?
Foo Foo is a young-adult parable that lives in the friction zone between group-think and individuality, war and peace, terror and freedom. Milton, a rather ordinary but rational field mouse, clashes with his neighbors as they succumb to their irrational fears. As a recognition of true patriotism, as long as Edward Snowden remains free, so shall this book.

Review:

Content Warning: fascism and mob violence. I will not discuss these topics in my review.

Fables are for everyone.

Bunny Foo Foo was something I spent a lot of time thinking about as a child. Why would a fluffy little rabbit irritate field mice? What did the field mice have to say to each other about those experiences after their tormentor had hopped away? While I don’t want to give away spoilers in this review, I was intrigued by the idea of exploring this little world more deeply and looking at one possible way things could have turned out. A story can share part of the truth while ignoring the rest of it, and any number of facts in and of themselves might not be as clear-cut or as easy to understand if separated from everything else that is known about a situation.

I loved the way Mr. Riot blended together a retelling of that classic poem with a sharp warning about the dangers of black-and-white thinking, authoritarianism, and fascism. This tale contained multiple layers of meaning that fed into each other more and more often as the final scene grew nearer. Each possible interpretation stands on its own for readers who may want to focus on one aspect of it at a time or who maybe aren’t quite old enough to catch all of the references at the moment. That is not an easy feat to accomplish by any means, so I must commend the author for making it look so effortless and creating something that can teach a reader something new when they return to it a few years from now.

What a perfect ending. Did I want to keep reading about what happened next? Of course, but I was also satisfied by how things were wrapped up and thought the foreshadowing, especially from the first few scenes, paid off nicely by the final sentence. There is definitely something to be said for leaving one’s audience wishing for just one more chapter. Based on how much I enjoyed this short story, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for what the author comes up with next.

Foo Foo was thought provoking.

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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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Dream Logic: A Review of Strange New World

Book cover for Strange New World by A.R. Grosjean. Image on cover is a digitally-created painting of a castle sitting on a large and very rocky mountain that has no visible vegetation growing on it. The perspective of this scene was painted from inside of a cave, so you can see the black walls and watery floor of the cave in about the first 60% of the painting. The castle and the clouds behind the castle are visible due to the sunlight pouring over them and rapidly approaching the cave. This is such a pretty and calming image. Title: Strange New World

Author: A.R. Grosjean

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: April 1, 2024

Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Humour, Contemporary

Length: 41 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb:

When a peculiar man steals Kevin’s most valuable watch, he takes chase, jumping into a rabbit hole without thinking about the consequences. Now Kevin is in a strange new world where nothing makes sense. A room filling with water, voices coming from mysterious places, walking fish, and teatime. How do it all connect? Kevin’s about to find out. The deeper he goes into this new world, the more confused he is, and he still hasn’t gotten his watch back. Will Kevin find the man and retrieve what was taken from him? Will he be able to find his way back home? Could this get any stranger?

Review:

White rabbits know more than you might think.

I loved the zany dream logic of this tale. Kevin accepted almost everything that happened to him immediately, but he was also struck by the cognitive dissonance the moment he tried to make logical sense of anything. This reminded me  of lucid dreaming as well as of how funny it can be to try to describe a wild dream to someone the next morning after you’ve woken up and realized that half of it is rather nonsensical. What made sense while one slept is now confusing, and what was mildly confusing in the moment can feel like mashing six different genres together without any care given to continuity or plot development. It seemed complicated to put together despite being an homage to such a famous story, so I must tip my cap to the author for doing it so well.

There’s nothing like chuckling one’s way through a short story. This was my introduction to Ms. Grosjean’s work, and I already think I’m going to love her sense of humour if I’m lucky enough to read more from her in the future. It was tricky for me to figure out which examples of what she finds funny to include in my review that would give a small hint of what to expect without sharing too many spoilers. Let’s just say that tree huggers have an entirely different connotation in this universe than they do in our own, and I laughed out loud once I figured out what the sentient creatures who lived there thought of them.

The conversations were some of my favourite sections. Sometimes it felt as though Kevin and the various creatures he met on his adventure were speaking two completely different languages due to their different interpretations of the same word and expectations of what might happen next. This is where the author’s writing abilities really shone through the brightest in my opinion. There is nothing like using wordplay to make the audience giggle and nudge the plot forward despite all attempts to grind it to a halt so a caterpillar can pontificate a little longer.

Strange New World was a creative romp through a world many readers already know and love.

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Spring Surprises: A Review of The Red Tree

Book cover for The Red Tree by Dave Williams. Image on cover shows a photo of a leafless deciduous tree whose branches are oddly red. This looks like a photo taken with one of those cameras that plays around with which sorts of lights on the light spectrum to reveal. That is, they take snapshots of items without using the visible light spectrum and instead show infrared or what have you. Title: The Red Tree

Author: Dave Williams

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: March 25, 2020

Genres: Speculative Fiction, Contemporary

Length: 32 pages

Source: I received a free copy from the author.

Rating: 3 Stars

Blurb:

While rain falls for weeks, the Engler family invites friends over for an evening of dealing with cabin fever together. And when the spring sun arrives, the Englers celebrate by walking in a wooded park, where they encounter a red tree away from the trail. Guesses abound as to why the tree is red when none of the other trees are. Life returns to normal for most of the Englers. The father, Calvin, decides the red tree was a sign for him to make changes in his life and property. Changes the family and neighbors don’t quite understand. But some family members can be eccentric, and others learn to roll with it. A novelette about family, experiencing the mysterious, and letting your imagination loose.

Review:

April showers can bring so many things as the weeks march into May. The old rhyme about them barely scratches the surface.

Calvin was an interesting and memorable protagonist. As the father of two kids who sounded like they were just beginning to reach the preteen stage of life, he wanted to soak up the last moments of childhood with them while also encouraging his sons to pursue more mature interests like camping or hiking that adults also commonly enjoy. Transitions aren’t always easy for kids or parents, but this also provided a nice parallel to Calvin’s own transformation after his experience discovering the red tree in the forest he was walking through with a group of friends in one of the earliest scenes.

I had mixed feelings about how to rate this book. The writing was thoughtful and beautiful for the first ninety percent of it, but the ending was so vague that I didn’t feel justified going for the four or five-star rating I would have given it up until that point. It sadly fizzled out instead of clearly pursuing the themes that it did so well exploring in the beginning and middle. That was a disappointing experience for me as a reader, and I wish I’d known to expect it from the very first sentence so I could have tempered my expectations.

With that being said, I am still glad I gave Mr. Williams a try. This was my first taste of his work. His gentle but vivid descriptions and high expectations of his audience have whetted my appetite for more of his stories. He is a talented storyteller who is especially adept at creating a world that feels just like our own ninety-nine percent of the time only to fill me with a sense of wonder as I discover that small sliver of something unexplainable that ties everything together.

The Red Tree surprised me.

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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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