Ghost at Work – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“He’s dead!” Her voice was a whisper. “What am I going to do?” “Call the police.” I clapped my fingers to my mouth. I hadn’t intended to speak. “I can’t.” It was a moan. The moan turned into a strangled gasp. She looked wildly about. “Who’s there? Where are you?” Skirting the body, she hurried to the back door, flung it open, clattered down the steps. In an instant she returned to the porch, dashed to the rectory back door, yanked it open, seeking the source of the voice.
Bailey Ruth Raeburn is dead and living the the glories of Heaven, but there are times when an “emissary” from Heaven needs to be sent back to earth to help out those in trouble. Bailey Ruth has never had the honor of being returned to earth as an emissary so Wiggins, who is in charge of this Heavenly task, must teach her the rules and prepare her before letting her depart. Unfortunately, there is no time for preparation. In Bailey Ruth’s own home town of Adelaide, someone has murdered Daryl Murdoch right on the steps of the rectory. It becomes Bailey Ruth’s job as an emissary to protect Kathleen, who just happens to be the pastor’s wife, and hopefully find the real killer.
As Bailey Ruth approaches Kathleen, she knows that before she can help her she must first gain her trust without scaring her half to death. This isn’t an easy task since Kathleen can hear Bailey Ruth but not see her. The solution to that is to appear but that is frowned upon in the Precepts, which are the rules an emissary must follow.
After Bailey Ruth and Kathleen finally get a grip on the real situation, it’s decided that the best thing to do is to move the body away from the rectory. And where would be a better place to deposit a dead body in the cemetery. But doing that will take some imagination from Bailey Ruth. She can’t just snap her fingers and have the body moved, so she must find a mode of transportation and the wheel barrow seems to be perfect vehicle. As she and Kathleen wheel Murdoch’s body to it’s destination, they discover that the cemetery is occupied by a couple of teens who are attempting to remove the greyhound statue that watches over the Pritchard mausoleum. She accomplishes this by grabbing the crowbar away from one of the boys and flinging it out into the darkness. But, Kathleen has already dumped the body on the steps of the mausoleum where it’s discovered by the two frightened teens.
Ghost at Work is the first book written by Carolyn Hart in the Bailey Ruth series. In Ghost at Work, Bailey Ruth is an emissary in training and on probation. Following her antics as she tries to follow the rules of not appearing, speaking, nor scaring the living half to death unless completely necessary, I’ve found Ghost at Work to be humorous and creative. Hart’s characters are not only believable but you find yourself completely wrapped up in them, not wanting the book to end. And fortunately, Bailey Ruth is carried forward in Hart’s second book in the series titled Merry, Merry Ghost. I’ve had the enjoyment of reading both of these light hearted books and can’t wait for the next.
I’ve read many series books which spotlight the same character and have found that after a while, the character becomes predictable and over years “aged.” Bailey Ruth is one character that I feel that can never happen to. After all, she is a “ghost.”
By Brian L. Porter
When your body starts to tingle, your hands feel numb, your mouth can longer verbalize what you want to say and the pain is so excruciating that you can hardly breathe, you are now and forever a victim of PURPLE DEATH! A DEATH SO HORRIFIC THAT ONLY AUTHOR BRIAN PORTER CAN RELATE THE EXPERIENCES OF THE VICTIMS AND ALLOW THE READER TO EXPERIENCE THE DEATHS FIRST HAND.
First, you need to hear the facts and understand the events of each crime and learn the reasons why the police in two towns were more than frustrated and baffled as to why these murders were committed and how the poison, or Purple Death, was administered to each victim.
Purple Death is a poison that comes from a plant. The poison is called aconite and it paralyzes its victims without impairing their mind. How horrific that the person inflicted with his poison knows what is happening to them, feels unbearable pain and goes through a painful death without being able to ring for help or cry out in pain.
Detective Inspector Sean Connor his assistant Sergeant Lucy Clay, Dr. Catherine Nickels, and a team of investigators from Richmond-on-Thames and Birmingham, have to sort through many unanswered questions, clues that lead to suspects only to find themselves back at square one and a mysterious girl named the Chocolate Woman who seems to be at the center of these murders, but no one is really sure what part she played in carrying out these horrific murders.
As Detective Inspector Connor digs deeper into the past of each of the victims he comes face to face with an unsolved murder from thirty years before and maybe a connection to what is happening in the present. The latest victims appear to have no apparent connection to each other and yet this poison has poisoned each. With the body count rising, Connor teams up with the police force in Birmingham hoping to solve the murders faster using all of the combined resources.
Purple death is derived from a plant that will render your body useless but keep your mind and brain alert and aware of what is happening to you. Author Brian L. Porter describes the victim’s journey from beginning to end in such a graphic manner that you can visualize the scene in your head and feel the agony and pain the victim is enduring each and every second until their lives are extinguished.
I am Purple Death you see
I come from a plant that will kill you not me
As I begin to work my way through your body you know
Your respiratory system will begin to slow
Your mouth and lips will tingle and your lungs will burn
Your body and mind will writhe with every turn
My reasons for choosing these victims I will not divulge to you
But, beware there are more and one might be you too.
Thirty years ago a tragic murder went unpunished and more
Those that were involved will reap the benefits of what I have in store
When the past comes to haunt those in the present only author Brian L. Porter can create a plot so devious so creative that it will keep you on edge from beginning until end.
William Prentice was a private investigator that uncovered information about one man who he suspected was cheating on his wife. His partner, Andrew Forbes told the police that it involved a case of adultery involving a woman in Braintree County. With each passing day the woman involved and the man whether rightly or wrongly accused of cheating on his wife, things got worse and Prentice was killed. His murderer caught and released and a second the same.
But, according to one man justice was not served the woman whose husband was killed became so deranged and upset that she sought the comfort of our killer in order to make things right. The killer, created a brand of justice so heinous and so horrific and enlisted the help of a woman we shall call the Chocolate Woman, to distribute his lethal dose of aconite, the poison called Purple Death, to the unsuspecting victim in a piece of chocolate or in other cases in a familiar drink.
Who is behind these gruesome murders and why you will not believe? Why is it that every time Connor and his team draw three steps closer and gain the name of a possible suspect the body count rises? Why is it that the killer always knows what is happening and never fails to get there first? Only the killer, the author and of course this reader knows and we will never divulge that information.
With a team of detectives, investigators, his assistant and several medical examiners are pressed for time and hope to close in on this deranged killer. When the one person that can help them is placed in a safe house and hopefully can help put this case to rest, will the killer know where to find the person and will Connor, Clay and his team get there in time?
Who will win the battle? The KILLER OR PURPLE DEATH! What does keep you on the edge of your seat until you turn the last page and read the last word? Let’s hope our author brings back this team of detectives for another murder.
I give this book FIVE CHOCOLATE HEARTS WITHOUT ACONITE IN THEM
FRAN LEWIS: REVIEWER AND AUTHOR OF THE BERTHA SERIES AND MEMORIES ARE PRECIOUS
A Voice from the Grave
By : Yvonne Mason
Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason has just released her latest book A Voice from the Grave. She spent over four years researching and gathering material for this fiction murder/suspense so that the history behind Andersonville Prison would be correct.
Ms. Mason has taken factual accounts of battles of the Civil War and real incidents at Andersonville to spell bind her readers. She takes her readers on a journey that will draw them into the story with abandon.
Ms. Mason is the author of five other books, including her True Crime Silent Scream.
Anderson Georgia, the home of Andersonville Prison, the worst prison camp in the south during the Civil War. Archeologist Jonas Biggs has been hired by the Historical Society of Anderson to come and do a dig at Andersonville for historical purposes.
Jonas has been asked to do this dig for two reasons. One he is a home town boy, his family had been in Anderson for years, and two, there is a mystery in the making.
At the dig Jonas Biggs finds more than he bargains for. He uncovers not one but two skeletons at the deadline. The questions erupt. Why are there two skeletons at the deadline? Who are they? How long have they been there?
Jonas and his family are thrown into a web of deceit, lies and possibly murder as he tries to unravel the mystery of the dead. Who is trying to kill Savannah his niece and why? Who is the voice from the Grave?
Why does the past collide with the present?
What does the voice have to do with the mystery?
Read A Voice from the Grave and learn the answers.
Order today from Lulu.com
Ms. Mason’s online bookstore http://thebookattic.ecrater.com
Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle
Purple Death – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Sam tried to move his legs and instead fell in a crumpled heap on his office floor. He felt more than just ‘ill’ now. Fear gripped Sam while the sweat on his brow began to run down into his eyes. He felt a constriction in his chest, as if someone had suddenly placed an iron barrel ring around him and was tightening it by the second. The life was rapidly being crushed out of his body, but with nothing and no one there to offer help. Sam Gabriel had never felt so frightened and alone.’
Sam Gabriel will become just one of several to die a gruesome death by poisoning. The poison ‘aconite’ is being administered by what Detective Inspector Shawn Connor has decided is a serial killer. D.I. Connor, who heads up a team of investigators, is baffled as to how the poison is being induced. This question is finally answered after the third victim is killed. Now Connor must determine if there is a connection between the victims and follow what few clues he has to determine who will be next.
DI Connor has determined that a woman is involved but doesn’t feel that she’s alone. Due to the timing of the deaths and the locations of the victims, there has to be more than one person involved.
Connor and his team finally come up with a clue which seems to connect most of the victims. The clue pertains to events that happened over 30 years earlier with most of those involved being deceased. To Conner, it appears that with each clue that surfaces, another victim turns up poisoned. He seems to hit nothing but dead ends.
I’ve read all but 2 books written by Brian Porter and I have to say that if you’ve never read his writings, you’re losing out. Purple Death has taken me on a road with many curves, most of them sharp. Porter grabs your attention in the beginning of the book with his Welcome message and your reading experience goes up from there. He has got to be one of the best mystery writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
A Lesson in Murder – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘George Wheeler sat in the driver’s seat, looking as lifeless as the car in which he was sitting. On the seat next to him, was a stuffed animal which looked like Walt Disney’s Pluto. A large, flat, hardback book lay open in his lap. Wheeler’s usual black horn-rimmed glasses had been replaced with large, bright yellow-framed spectacles. Barnum again peered in the window quickly. Wheeler’s tan, healthy-looking face had been smeared with what appeared to be charcoal ashes.’
George Wheeler usually met with his advertising agent at 6:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for their jogs in the park. During this time, Wheeler who was in the pharmaceutical business would pitch ideas to Barnum as they ran. But as Barnum soon found out, Wheeler had performed his last job and pitched his last idea. Someone had murdered him.
Maxwell Hunter is an English teacher for Eastern Friends School in Pennsylvania. Eastern Friends School (EFS) was originally a private school for the wealthy but had started adding a few students, through grants, that were exceptionally intelligent. Hunter has a passion for mystery solving and is a stickler for details. That and Hunter’s familiarity with the people involved prompted Lt. Frank DiSalvo to ask Hunter for his help in solving the murder of George Wheeler. But, as it turns out, Wheeler wasn’t the only one to be murdered and each murder is in some way connected with the school.
As I read A Lesson in Murder I found myself second guessing my own ideas as to who the killer was. And I have to say that I was surprised with the ending. I had several suspects in mind but never really narrowed it down to one. I really enjoyed reading A Lesson in Murder and recommend it to anyone who would like a quick read mystery.
I want to let you know how much I enjoyed Dream Catcher. Stan’s story is so important, a story for our time, in helping us to see how essential it is that each child is accepted, included, and embraced in society and what they have to offer. Stan was fortunate that he had family and friends who fought for this and who believed in him. Thank you for writing this book, for sharing the gift of your family’s experience — the gift of Stan’s story. It is so perfectly titled.
Back in the eighties, I volunteered at a church for what was called Saturday School for adults with Down’s syndrome and autism and other cognitive challenges. Class was usually followed by a church service that these beautiful people themselves led and conducted. I thought they were pretty amazing. They understood alot more than what we often gave them credit for. I sometimes wondered what they were doing in a class all by themselves and had alot of mixed feelings about it. It seemed that the class was more for the “benefit” of others who didn’t want these people mainstreamed, aside from the “once a year” services when they were actually included. I remember thinking that this is how it should be every Sunday.
I used to be in total amazement of a little girl at one of the schools I used to substitute teach in. She was about seven and blind and was allowed to be in a regular classroom. Do you know that little girl could type word for word a whole story that I would read to her? She would type as I spoke. I would wait between sentences, but she let me know in no uncertain terms that I didn’t need to wait for her to “catch up”. She was always one step ahead of me.
The other side of that coin are schools who group all “special needs” or cognitively impaired children together, shut up in a classroom by themselves with no interaction with other children, even for lunch. I realize the challenges but there’s something wrong with this. It seems that all it does is foster and reinforce old stereotypes. Both sides lose.
Some years ago I suffered neurological symptoms that affected my speech and mobility. My entire life was flung upside-down in a matter of moments. I was pretty much homebound for sometime afterwards and I will never forget the intense pain of the isolation I felt. But many of these children endure isolation even into adulthood for all their lives.
When friends at my current church asked for help for the Buddy Walk (for Down’s children), I volunteered. They have a son with Down’s and had been involved with organizing the walk for several years. It was very rewarding to be involved with an organization that promotes inclusion of these children and interaction with them. We live in a society that loves and worships what is “normal” (if even that can be defined), a society that often doesn’t have the time or capacity to cope with people on a personal level out of the ordinary “stream” of life.
Your book offers hope by standing strong against stubborn stereotypes. I heartily recommend it to every parent and teacher. It should be in every educator’s library. Thank you, Yvonne, for investing in writing this book. I believe it will be a strong voice for acceptance as more and more people are inspired by it.
Wishing you continued success!
Merry Merry Ghost – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Susan shakily reached out for the mask and held it to her face. Slowly her breathing eased. The bluish tinge faded from her face. She put aside the mask, sank back against the chair. “I’m tired now.” Her voice was faint. “Tomorrow I’ll read everything.” Her voice was flagging. Susan
gathered up the papers, replaced them in the envelope. “Mitch’s little boy… tomorrow… some toys… I’ll talk to Wade… He’ll take the proper steps, make everything official.” Tears glistened in her eyes.
“Mitch’s little boy…” She twisted to look up at Peg. “Take good care of him.”
Susan Pritchard Flynn is the last living Pritchard. At least that’s what she thought until Keith showed up at her door shortly before Christmas. He arrives with a note stating that he is her grandson. His father was Sergeant First Class Mitchell Pritchard Flynn who had been killed in the line of duty. Keith also carried an envelope that contained his father’s medals and a birth certificate from the
military hospital in Germany. Susan and her deceased husband Tom had two children. Their daughter Ellen had been killed in a car accident and Mitch had left home shortly afterwards. They had not heard from him since. And when she was notified by the military that he had been killed, she was without true Pritchards to pass her estate on to. But Keith’s arrival changed all of that.
It also threatened the inheritance that was expected by Tom’s relatives who had lived with her and through her generosity. Susan’s original will was to leave the main house to Jake who had spent years taking care of the house and Susan. Tucker, who was currently maintaining the ranch would have it signed over to him upon her death. The others, Gina, Harrison and Peg would receive equal shares of the balance, amounting to several million each. And then there was Peg’s boyfriend Dave who hounded Susan to loan him enough money, interest free, to open his own clinic. So what steps will be taken to keep Susan from signing a new will leaving everything to Keith? And who will take those steps?
That is where Bailey Ruth Raeburn comes in. Bailey Ruth is a ghost who lived in Adelaide, OK
before her death. She and her husband were on their boat when it capsized. Their bodies never found. Bailey Ruth is spunky and even though she tries, she doesn’t always follow Heaven’s rules of how an “Emissary” is supposed to act. She sometimes fudges just a bit but all in the line of accomplishing the task at hand. And that task is to keep Keith safe.
When I read Merry Merry Ghost, I had one author come to mind… Mary Higgins Clark. This book is so light hearted and loving…yet it’s still a murder mystery. The characters are so believable and their thoughts and actions are so understandable under the circumstances. Even Bailey Ruth becomes so
real that if you don’t already believe in Angels, you just might start. This is the first book I’ve read by Carolyn Hart but I can promise you, I will be reading more.
Harper Collins Publishers
Marrying Mallory – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘In the past, Mallory Harrington felt cursed at times. Too many things had gone wrong in her thirty-two years of life. Her father had left when she was five and never even said good-bye. As a seventh grader, Mallory climbed a tree, slipped before reaching the ground and ripped her cheek on a barbed wire fence creating a cut that required thirty stitches. She was robbed of being valedictorian a few weeks before graduation due to another students grades being just a little higher. When she married Toby Harrington, she finally felt blessed. Doubly blessed when she gave birth to their son, Joshua. But her happiness ended the night Toby asked for a divorce. On top of everything else, she had inherited her father’s big nose. She was jinxed. The name Mallory meant luckless’
Mallory can see no future of happiness in her life. When she married Toby, her vows were given in the presence of God and could never be taken back. Even though Toby was the one to commit adultery while married to Mallory, she still felt that in the eyes of God she was still married to him. She feels that if she had been prettier, Toby’s eyes wouldn’t have strayed and they would still be married. So to make herself more beautiful Mallory decides to have something done about her big nose. But what she didn’t know was that when she meets Dr. Seth Whitman, her whole life is about to change.
In today’s world, divorce is so common that it’s actually hard to find a man or woman over 50 that hasn’t been divorced at least once. To most of us, it’s more surprising to find a couple that has not been divorced. Marriage is made up of sacred vows that are usually committed to in the name and eyes of God but, as Mallory learns, ‘what we assume God wants for us isn’t necessarily correct.’ After reading Marrying Mallory, I was reminded that by believing in Him and accepting His guidance, we will find what he wants for us without assuming.