Tag Archives: ghost

Lowcountry Boil, by Susan Boyer


Boyer has chosen a great setting for her first Liz Talbot mystery novel, the Island of Stella Maris on the East Coast of the US, in South Carolina. The atmosphere of the place is portrayed vividly, as well as a variety of characters inhabiting the island. It doesn’t sound like a place where a murder could happen, but one does occur – a simple blow to the head. The victim is none other than Liz’s grandmother, and Liz is a private investigator. Following the death of her grandma and after inheriting her estate, Liz moves back to Stella Maris and starts leading her own enquiry, in spite of her elder brother, the local law enforcer. Nearly everyone is family or acquaintance on the island, so it is hard to make sense of why someone would want to kill Liz’s grandmother. Liz will of course uncover what it’s all about, a piece of land with a great potential for development, and it’s something most inhabitants, Liz included, strongly oppose. This was for me the first weak point in the novel: the reason for the murders (there’s going to be several) is not very compelling – not that’s it’s never happened – but it doesn’t get you too excited or put you on edge. The other thing that didn’t gel with me was the high number of characters to remember and differentiate, and they’re almost all introduced at the same time. To be honest, it took me forever to know who was who, and after a while I just stopped bothering; it doesn’t prevent you from enjoying the story but it did annoy me a little. Boyer’s writing is straight to the point. A lot of action and not too much thinking or feeling. I found her style a little too direct and cold; with a little more warmth, it’d be fantastic. The story is good though, well paced and well brought to life. I also loved the role played by Colleen the ghost, one of Liz’s old school friends, who comes and goes in the story as if there was nothing unusual about it. This is a great device and one that gives the story an edge.

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Dogs of War, by Brad Convissar

A little while ago, I interviewed Brad Convissar about his 25,000 word stand alone novella, Dogs of War. I just realised I never got to post a review of the story, so here it is. Dogs of War is a horror story, the story of ghost dogs and a revenge they want to take on someone who’s hurt – and killed – them. This is a most unusual story, and it actually grips you from the very start. I read it in one go, as I wanted to know the ending straight after reading the first page. I am not a dog person, but I loved the dogs in this story, which takes you to weird places… I won’t say more, except that it’s a great, unusual, quite brutal novella about justice, fate and reasons for living.

Here’s a synopsis by Brad: “After divorcing his wife of two years, Gary Lettner thinks he has found the perfect house for himself and Molly, his eight-year-old dachshund. But when the throats of the dead begin to cry out in a voice that only Molly can hear, and when evidence of past atrocities committed in his new home begin to surface, Gary finds himself an unlikely participant in a brutal quest for vengeance.”

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Shannon Mawhiney: “The Death of Torberta Turchin”

“The Death of Torberta Turchin” is on my “to read” list. It really sounds like my kind of novel. Shannon Mawhiney tells us a little more about her and her novel.

Hi Shannon, could you please describe yourself in five words?

No, I don’t think so.

What can you tell us about “The Death of Torberta Turchin”?

The Death of Torberta Turchin is a YA paranormal novel that I hope also appeals to adults.  It’s about a 14-year-old girl, Torberta (or Torby), who communicates with the dead.  She can’t see them; she can only hear them.  Because of this, her relatives sent her to a boarding school for mentally ill children, after her parents died in a car crash when she was five.  Ever since then, her best friend has been a man named Charlie, a ghost who died in the 1930s.  Charlie does his best to guide and protect her, acting as an invisible big brother.  But he can’t do much for her if he can’t figure out who’s trying to kill her.

Who’s your favourite author?

Lois Lowry.  The Giver was (and still is) my absolute favorite book.  Her ability to engage both children and adults is something I’d like to be able to do in my own writing.

Do you have tips for budding writers?

If you’re not sure what to write or feel like you’re blocked, write anything you can think of.  Write in a journal, join a role-playing game writing group online, write out your dreams every morning, go to the food court in the mall and describe what you see.

What are you working on now?

Marketing Torberta Turchin, but also plotting out the next book in the series.  And my garden!

Where can we find you online?

Practically everywhere. 

Blog: http://mawhiney.blogspot.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/torberta




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If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

One millisecond, that’s all it takes, and Mia loses everything dear to her heart. Her life is over. Or is it, really? After a terrible car accident, Mia finds herself outside her body, witnessing her family’s and friends’ distress, the effort of the medical team to save her life, her boyfriend’s struggle to get the right to visit her in the ICU, and her own body fighting death… Soon Mia realises that her fate lies in her own hands. She faces a dilemma bigger than everything she’s ever experienced, should she decide to stay – and face her losses – or move on to another dimension…

The issues of out-of-body experience, afterlife, and death that Mia faces interest me. In my latest novel Body Swap, the hero faces something similar. I was therefore looking forward to finding out how Gayle Forman dealt with those issues in If I Stay. The story is gripping. Mia’s dilemma, her struggle, her hopes and fears become ours. It is impossible to read this novel without asking oneself the question of what we would do, would we find ourselves in Mia’s situation. Forman’s writing is full of vivid images, at times light and airy, at times strong and heavy, such as the minutes following Mia’s accident. But they are always spot-on. I found the questions going through Mia’s mind sometimes a little too obvious or brushed over too quickly, but overall, Forman did a very good job. I did get slightly annoyed at first though when the narrative went from the present to the past, and again, and again. I felt that the flashbacks slowed the action and were a little repetitive. But once you got to know the characters, it was fine. Some parts of the book seem to lack emotion at first, for example the cold way Mia watches the world from outside her body, but in fact it’s a way for Forman to show the distance between the new Mia and her former life – that is until she finds herself dragged back into it – big time.

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Book trailer for Body Swap

I’ve created a new book trailer for my latest young adult novel, Body Swap. I thank Danosongs again for the music.

Here it is:

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Body Swap giveaway ending soon

There’s a Body Swap giveaway on goodreads.com at the moment. Details below if you are interested.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Body Swap: The world's first text message adventure romance with... by Jerome Parisse

Body Swap

by Jerome Parisse

Giveaway ends December 15, 2010.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Body Swap

My latest young adult novel is out. It’s called Body Swap. It’s available as eBook and in paperback format.

Here’s a blurb about the story:

The world’s first text message adventure romance with the other side!

William is thirteen and has recently moved to a town called Fulton with his parents. His sister Estelle died accidentally a year ago, and his mother is in deep grief. In his new hometown, William meets Pat, a boy who loves big words and is in need of company. Out of the blue, William receives a text message from the mobile phone of an unknown sender called Stephanie asking for help. The two boys are at first astonished, then dubious, when in a flurry of text messages Stephanie tells them she is in a coma at a nearby hospital. She says she is floating outside her body and needs their help to get back into it.

Initially incredulous, William and Pat become intrigued and decide to check whether Stephanie is telling the truth. They manage to trace the hospital and gain admission into the Intensive Care Unit, where sure enough they find Stephanie in coma. At their wits’ end about how to do as Stephanie asks the two friends call on a female psychic called Doris to help them get Stephanie back into her body. A disastrous mix up occurs, however, and William ends up trapped in Stephanie’s body and shut out of his own.

In Stephanie’s body, William experiences difficult and sometimes comedic situations. He learns about things girls have to live with, from unwelcome approaches, to bras and high heels. The situation becomes even more desperate when Pat falls in love with Stephanie!

William and Pat elaborate a scheme for getting William and Stephanie back into their respective bodies, but timing is crucial and time is running out. The boys confront awesome challenges and meet with an unexpected enemy, and discover at the same time the secret behind Estelle’s death.

The official website: http://www.jeromeparisse.com/bodyswap.htm

Buy it in paperback format on Amazon or as eBook on Amazon or Smashwords


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