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.”
‘”Could this day get any worse?” Leslie Knotts muttered to herself, eyeing the watermark-circled hole in the ceiling tiles above her head. Thudding and muffled expletive rumbled from the hole. She yanked her cashmere scarf from her neck and stomped the slush off of her Prada heels. She took one look around her new office in the Carterville branch of Hanston and Boyd Accounting and gasped. This place was a mere phone call away from being condemned.
How can a city girl from Chicago be expected to take an office that is in such a rambling mess and be expected to turn it into a profitable branch? This is only one problem Leslie faces after being passed over for a junior partnership with Hanston and Boyd. Her dreams of becoming a CEO are pushed into almost non-existence after being transferred to a small town called Cartersville which exists out in the middle of nowhere. She had spent her whole life climbing the corporate ladder just to have one of her co-workers, Chuck, went behind her back and had her moved to this destitute town. Things couldn’t get any worse.
Oh but they can and they do. Leslie meets Mark, the nephew of the lady who owns the bed and breakfast where she will be staying while she brings the branch into the 21st century. Mark is a handyman who wants to start his own construction business. Leslie decides to hire him to basically revamp the full interior of the office, and she needs it finished before tax season starts in full force. Again, in steps Chuck to destroy her plans and dreams.
On top of all of her other problems, Leslie learns that there is a group in town called the Library Ladies and Mark’s Aunt Minnie is one of the ring leaders. Their purpose in life is to match unmarried men with unmarried women and their success rate is 100%. So, with Mark being single and Leslie being new to town as well as single, they make a perfect match. At least that’s what they think but Mark and Leslie have their own plans for their futures and marriage isn’t one of them. How do they fight the Library Ladies 100% success rate? You will have to read the book to find that answer.
CEOs Don’t Cry has everything needed to make an enjoyable, lighthearted romance novel. The humor provided by the Library Ladies will keep you smiling and laughing throughout the book. Leslie’s method of overcoming the obstacles bestowed on her are quite ingenious. Once I started reading CEOs Don’t Cry, I didn’t want to put it down. So what will Leslie do when the chance comes for her to have her life long dreams come true? You’ll have to read CEOs Don’t Cry to find the answer to that question.
A Corpse for Yew – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
As you read the excerpt below, picture a group of elderly ladies, all members of the Shamrock Historical Society due to their ancestors and proud of it. Picture these ladies standing in the middle of a cow pasture as they search for a grave that has been long forgotten. And now listen as they reminisce about another outing that took them in search of a grave from the past.
“It doesn’t really matter,” Geneva said. We’re within our legal rights to visit the grave since Mrs.. Waynewright is a direct descendant. MCWhirter can’t keep us away.”
Dorothy grimaced. “Remember that time we had to sneak into that abandoned cemetery out by Salisbury? Those terrible dogs! I’m not sure what w would’ve done if Mr. Hawkins hadn’t been with us. He took that bite like a man.”
“After that, the dogs seemed fine with us being there.” Annabelle shrugged.
“But poor Mr. Hawkins had to have rabies shots. He was such a gentleman about it.”
Peggy is the owner of a garden shop called the Potting Shed located in Center City, Charlotte. She’s also a part-time forensic botanist for the Charlotte Police Department. When her mother, Lilla, talks her into joining the Shamrock Historical Society and their quest to rescue bones that have been buried under Lake Whitley for years, she didn’t expect to discover the body of one of the Society’s own members, Lois Mullis, who also turns out to be the Aunt of the Police Chief. Was it accidental or murder? The Chief believes it was an accident. The members of the Shamrock Historical Society believe it was murder and they put their faith in Peggy to prove them right and to find the killer.
A Corpse for Yew is a book of humor and mystery, as well as a book that spiked my interest in plants. Joyce and Jim Lavene provide a description of the plants as they are introduced into each chapter, giving you a little history of the plant’s origin and it’s uses. As they introduced each member of the Shamrock Historical Society, I found myself picturing each lady perfectly. When I put the mental pictures of these ladies together to form the full group, I could see their every move as they persuaded Peggy to help them find the killer of their friend. And with my living in Charlotte, NC, I knew almost every location visited by Peggy and her group of ladies.
A Corpse for You is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in some time. It became a real mystery as I tried to decide who would want to harm the late Mrs. Mullis. But with it’s humor, it was a very relaxing book to read.
I received your book –it’s great!! I love the cover–its got a beautiful energy and the colors, title and subtitle all work really well together!
“I grew up in a restaurant that my grandparents owned. When I received Martha’s book my mom was visiting; she picked it up and proceeded to read every story to me while we both belly laughed. Stir, Laugh, Repeat is filled with delicious, simple recipes all topped off with Martha’s secret ingredient-her amazing sense of humor!”
Author, New York Times Best Seller, I Love You More
When Fates Collide
The title not only fits the story but the way it begins too. There have been many pairs of outlaws that have teamed up. Batman and Robin. But, none of these pairs can compare to the zany and seriously wacky who teams up with a receptionist working in corporate America to hunt and bring back and track down a jumper who has eluded the law and will stop at nothing to get their man., Thelma and Louise and of course
Meet Hope: Sitting innocently having a drink in her usual hangout the Crypt feeling sorry for herself and saying that she has no life and nothing ever happens to her of any consequence. Maybe she should have been thankful for that. All too often when we complain and wish for more or some changes in our lives we might get our wish but not exactly in the way we might have liked. Hope lives in Tampa and thought that she would be there for the rest of her live doing her everyday and mundane job and just going through the motions. But, then she meets Alex. No, she does not just come up to her and say, “Hi, you wanna be friends or BFF’s.” That would be boring and not make this great story what it is funny, comical and extremely creative for first time paired authors Yvonne Mason and.
Alex is a bounty hunter who is looking for someone named Hope Harrington, who you would assume is a woman or a young girl. But, you know what happens when you assume. I don’t have to explain that to you. Well, she goes into this bar the Crypt thinking that she now has her man and will earn the bounty or the money for bringing him in. Walking into the bar with the guys jacket or rap sheet she sees what she thinks is her jumper and proceeds to execute the arrest and telling the suspect not to even think about trying to get away. Of course I am using different words for this review. Spinning her around she slammed her onto the floor and what came out of Hope’s mouth cannot be written but you can just imagine what you would say if it were you getting slammed dunked. After realizing that she had found Hope Harrington but not the one she was looking for the two decided to get to know each other and team up to find the real suspect.
The guy that they were really looking could change his appearance at the drop of a hat and was out to make Alex look bad to her boss and to herself too. But, Alex is a force to be reckoned with and timid and not so forceful Hope is about to learn the ropes and learn a whole new meaning of not so boring life or job.
After losing the suspect twice they decide they try to figure out his next move. Alex feels that he might try and steal a boat and head for the Florida Keys. How she manages to lose the suspect you will have to read for yourself. With the help of a friend named Tyrell, Alex and Hope take off for the Keys and what happens is hysterical and yet creative that you would think this was an episode of America’s creative and funniest videos or the new and improved Unsolved Crimes solved in a very unique and different way.
With all of the boats at the dock and many there for Gay Pride week it was easy to lose the suspect in such a big crowd. But they would not give up and Alex would not lose the bounty and her time was short and she needed to find this guy and fast. There was a festival in St. Duvall and Alex thought that since this guy was a master of disguise he might be hiding in plain sight and of course looking anything but like himself. Splitting up and searching for this guy Tyrell gets a lead and relates the suspects true appearance to Alex. How they finally get him will make you double over and yet show pure admiration for our girl Hope and her clever mentor Alex. How far would you go as a law enforcement officer to get your man? Would you have yourself body painted as a nun in order to hide your true identity? Would you have yourself body painted as a zombie to create a diversion and not allow yourself to be noticed? Would you come up with a clever way to make these disguises work for you and against the suspect who is not only full of himself and loves attention but has his body painted too. I won’t tell you as what because that might give too much away.
Hope is quite smart and she comes up with a way to not only help Alex foil this guy but help others too. There is a contest for the best costume being held on. She convinces the people in charge of the contest to add a new twist to it: They were going to sell off the contestants to the highest bidder. Yes: there own contest and whomever gets the most bids during the contest, as in who wants to own that person the most, as the authors state, will go out on a date with the lucky winner. The proceeds will go to a children’s charity fund.
What happens during the contest and how they finally get him will not only give up pause for thought about how dangerous the job of a bounty hunter really is, but also how creative and cunning you have to be. Just when Alex apprehends the suspect as he comes on stage another twist and turn occurs and she needs the help of her Uncle Max a higher up in law enforcement to help complete the takedown of this man. The rest and the outcome you will have to read for yourself. The friendship between these two gets as tight as the handcuffs on a criminal and they decide they make a good team. Will Hope chuck her job in corporate America for a life of danger, the unknown, sleepless nights, travel and not many amenities, or will she decide to go back and complain about having no life and being bored? Will Alex entice her to take a step on the wild side and be her partner? You will have to wait and see. I can feel a sequel coming on and I know that you the reader will want to see what trouble these two will get into next.
Five stars would not be the right things for this book: Five Bounty Hunters and Five Gift Cards for Body Painting by Mr. Van Goth.
Fran Lewis: reviewer
Reviews for Hell Swamp:
Murder Mystery Oozes Local Color, July 7, 2009
|By||Monte Seewald “Jacqueline Seewald”|
When Clara Banoak is murdered in a gruesome manner…Agent Logan Hunter, SBI Agent, is brought in to investigate the crime. The victim hated hunters and was an outspoken animal rights activist. Logan must discover whether this crime is a retaliation of the hunters or if they are being made scapegoats. This fast-paced suspenseful novel does not stint on character development. Logan, a tall, attractive woman who suffers from night terrors, is a well-rounded character.… The novel offers many twists and turns… But the most fascinating thing about this novel is the use of local color. The author’s sense of North Carolina is authentic; the novel is steeped in atmosphere. Definitely a book worth reading! *****
Another Writer’s Review, February 16, 2009
|By||Mary Deal “Author/Writer” (Kauai, Hawaii, USA)
The action jumps out at you from the first chapter and never lets up. North Carolina’s Agent Logan Hunter learns that the people who live around the swamp have their own rules. This is edgy stuff that made me grit my teeth. ~~ Mary Deal, author of River Bones
|Carolina Low Country||Maggie Bishop (Boone, North Carolina, USA)|
Carolina Low Country tale of greed and misguided deeds. Fasten your seat belts for this fast-paced read.
A Great Read!, July 7, 2009
|By||JRM “The Tsarina” (Laurens, SC)|
Hell Swamp. What a story! Author Susan Whitfield whisks her readers off to the rural south to solve a grisly murder. Her hard hitting prose leads us through swamps and down dirt roads, into both mansions and shacks, before finally presenting us with a surprisingly evil conclusion.
Susan Whitfield created a strong female protagonist who is at the same time feminine and sexy. A good role model for us all!
Watch out for the Snakes!, July 2, 2009
|By||Martha A. Cheves (Charlotte, NC) –
I’ve followed SBI Agent Logan Hunter through her internship at Genesis Beach as she solved her first murder. I followed her through the NC Mountains in Just North of Luck as she solved yet another murder. Now I’ve followed her into the NC backwoods as she tries to survive in Hell Swamp while solving the murder and gutting of Clara Banoak… Whitfield outdid herself with Hell Swamp. She created a murder mystery that has a surprising ending while including a little humor along the way that only Whitfield can get by with. This was another enjoyable book in the Logan Hunter series. I can’t wait to read her next book, Gator Creek.
The Backwoods Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before, March 24, 2009
By Renee Washburn (Durham, NC USA)
SBI agent Logan Hunter finds herself caught in the middle of – to say the least – quite interesting circumstances that only seem to grow stranger over time. Unsettling characters and a host of bizarre rituals combine to complicate Hunter’s investigation, and her resolve is further tested by emergent problems in her personal life. To top it all off, the simultaneously beautiful and deadly Hell Swamp, the daunting backdrop of all the action, adds its own mysterious flavor and mystical lore to the mix.
In the third installment of the Logan Hunter Mystery Series, Whitfield doesn’t miss a step with Hell Swamp. Action-packed, intriguing, and rife with suspense, Hunter’s latest adventure through the heart of rural North Carolina exposes the reader once again to the particular folkways and mores of a mini-society that proves to be quite compelling. Not one to engage in exaggerated satire, though, Whitfield is to be commended for framing her characters in a realistic light, exposing their adopted habits and lifestyles without turning them into caricaturish, backwoods rubes.
Hell Swamp also solidifies Whitfield’s status as a true master of mystery. Her prose is tight and engaging, and her suspenseful writing style leaves the reader no choice but to turn page after page in anticipation of the latest unexpected twist.
Followers of Susan Whitfield will surely not be disappointed with her latest effort, and it will most certainly be successful in drawing even greater numbers to her ever-growing fan base. An enjoyable, recommended read.
David Fingerman, Minnesota Reads (July 15, 2009)
…a good old fashioned roller coaster ride. One of the refreshing things in reading Hell Swamp is that Whitfield has done her homework as far as police procedure…if Whitfield isn’t following procedure, at least it’s more than enough to suspend my disbelief. She also sprinkles in very humorous and colorful descriptions: “cloud’s bladder emptied on me”, “nose resembled a bull’s hairy gonad”. There’s not enough to drown the flavor of her general prose, but enough for an occasional chuckle in a tense situation. After reading Hell Swamp, any thoughts I had about living in a small town just sank.
Just North of Luck: The ABCs have never been so twisted!
Hell Swamp: holds sinister secrets.
- Aug 2009