Crimson at Cape May (The Haunted Shores Mysteries Book 2) by Randy Overbeck – a #BookReview – #ghoststories

“Cape May: the country’s most haunted seaport.”

 Book Blurb:

Crimson at Cape May by Randy OverbeckNo matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. Now, with his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast.

When a resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help, he can’t refuse, and joins forces with Cassie, another sensitive. As Darrell and the street-wise teen investigate the bride’s death, they uncover something far more sinister than a murder. Can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up becoming the next victims?

My Review:

Crimson at Cape May by Randy OverbeckWhen I participated in a blog blitz for the author’s book titled Blood on the Chesapeake, I was intrigued by the premise. Something about ghost stories pulls me in and I wasn’t disappointed with this—his second in the series. I suppose you might begin with Book 1 as it would explain about Darrell’s history—but I read this as a standlone and had no problem catching on pretty quickly that this was an unusual educator.

Darrell Henshaw is first a history teacher, and coach, and then a paranormal sensitive. He’s been asked to assist the coach at a summer football camp in Cape May. Oh my goodness…a quarter of the way into the book I was looking at pictures of the beautiful beach resort community and wondering how quickly I could make the trip to the East Coast. Sooo atmospheric. (I’m a big fan of the coast anyway—the Pacific though.) However, Cape May, with it’s history, Victorian Mansions, and no end of ghostly stories catches up to Darrell in a hurry. And the Haunted Bride is a douzy.

Darrell is an interesting protagonist. He has his foibles—for one, he’s OCD—and he’d lost his job back in Wilshire when he backed off defending himself in order that two of his player’s would keep their scholarships. So he grabbed this opportunity, leaving behind the bewildering state of affairs connected with his frame up and his sweetie, Erin, although she’ll soon join him.

It doesn’t take long before he sees a ghost—and she is very persistent. Then he meets Cassie. Cassie believes he might have the same powers of perception as she. And she’s seen the same persistent ghost. The Haunted Bride has found her conduits, unwitting and unwilling as though they may be, but she won’t let up.

Darrell is a personality I’d have a problem with in real life. He doesn’t scream romantic partner to me, but he can be endearing, sincere, and just as persistent. He must or he’ll just keep getting that ghost, cropping up where he least expects.

Erin is patient, understanding, kind, and still a bit skeptical of his visions, but is beginning to show interest—actually encouraging. She is feminine and motherly and seems to instantly know how to calm Cassie—pursue her visions. Cassie is a Goth, would be homeless except for the crib she’s sharing with a guy in exchange for favors. And she has contacts. They know where to get the good stuff and they share. The nervous interest in her character goes from cautious to compassion.

The well-plotted storyline keeps a steady pace through two-thirds of the book and then gradually ups the ante, adds tension, grit, drops more pieces of the puzzle then explodes. When the dust settles, all is right with the world. The main characters will go on to Book 3 and I’ll be looking for them there.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and these are my honest, unbiased thoughts. NB: CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY recently won its first national award, the Gold Award from  Literary Titan.

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Book Details:

Genre: Ghost Fiction, Ghost Mysteries, Mysteries
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press Inc

  • ASIN : B089P2PG1B

Print Length: 308 pages
Publication Date: July 20, 2020
Source: Direct Author Request

Title Link(s):

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 Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Randy Overbeck - authorThe Author: Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children as a teacher, a college professor and school leader. During his more than three decades of experience, his responsibilities have ranged from senior prom advisor to superintendent and he has lived the roles of many of the characters in his fiction.  A tireless advocate for literacy instruction, Dr. Overbeck has won state and national awards for his work and has also served on numerous state and national educational boards.

An accomplished writer for more than two decades, he has been published in trade journals, professional texts and newspapers. His first novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND, published by Heroic Teacher Press, is a thriller about a terrorist takeover of a high school and the teacher who defeats the terrorists. The work earned rave reviews and was named the 2011 Silver Award for Thriller of the Year from ReadersFavorite.com. His newest work, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, released in 2019, has also garnered five-star reviews and won a national award, the Gold Award from Literary Titan.

When he is not writing, Dr. Overbeck is often in demand as a speaker to groups, large and small. His speaking experiences run the gamut from delivering a keynote at a national conference to a participant in a federal policy debate on education. During the past several years, he has shared his tribute, “Teachers–the Real American Heroes” with more than 150 clubs and organizations, introducing audiences across the country to his first novel, LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND. Currently, Dr. Overbeck is sharing his newest presentation, “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” a fun and intriguing talk about the role of ghosts in our culture, and introducing audiences to his ghost story/mystery, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE.

A member of the Mystery Writers of America, he is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Midwest Writers’ Workshop and Killer Nashville.

Dr. Overbeck is married to Cathy, his wife and partner for more than 40 years, and they have three grown children–settled in three different states across the country–as well as seven grandchildren, whom he loves to spoil. For him, time not devoted to writing and speaking is spent traveling to visit family and other favorite spots around the US.

©2020 V Williams V Williams

Forgiveness Falls by Kate James – a #BookReview

Book Blurb:

Forgiveness Falls by Kate JamesWhen Alice overhears a murder confession at her family’s Adirondacks inn, she takes this for a bad dream. Later, she attributes an eerie scream from the courtyard to the same elusive nightmare.

After all, she had an alarming evening, marked by a freak fire and frightened talk of “glowing eyes” sure to hurt the inn’s reputation.

But as the mysteries multiply and grow more malicious, Alice and her son suspect a scam. Aimed at the family? Then again, it’s possible the resurrection of a local legend has awakened sleeping souls…

Romance complicates matters, as Alice is drawn to a guest her ex-cop brother distrusts. Then there’s the unknown poetry that finds its way into her head…as if someone’s trying to reach her – maybe to warn her?

My Review:

There is so much we don’t know that we don’t know, but certainly there has always been, in one form or another, that feeling that there might be some form of life after death. And, generally, there are good reasons why the soul is “stuck” rather than finding their own appropriate heaven (or hell).

Forgiveness Falls by Kate JamesParanormal or metaphysical, this novel is chocked full of philosophy much of which is highlighted mainly through the classic poets, including the master (Shakespeare), as well as ideologies of the author. Each chapter is headed by an appropriate quote. (I recognized Ariel from William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.) Many were recognized, many were thought-provoking, but there were many.

Alice Thorpe’s family manages their Adirondacks inn by themselves, each in their appropriate niche, and are currently hosting a variety of guests, but some strange things begin to happen. When the occurrences begin to escalate and become increasingly dangerous, the family must sit down and analyze together when and/or why this might have begun. They can pinpoint several possibilities. For one, they are looking into the prospect of rebuilding an old transcendentalist commune called Valor Farm of the 1850s founded by Miranda Frasier. Miranda had a tragic history and she as well as her beloved were the object of many ghost stories surrounding Forgiven Falls. Forgiveness Falls is said to have healing powers. The family differs on how to handle that information on their website.

There are deep philosophical discussions that include mythology, such as the Dark Man or the Green Man and origins of pagan beliefs, native herbs, and nature. The four elements of the Tarot. “Everything in nature has its own unique voice…” Arguments about the sixth sense, space, and time.

“Is harm done knowingly the only kind that matters?”

 The author did a great job in assembling an appropriate cadre of support characters, including a young person working on a thesis and her guest, a psychic. There is a death about half-way into the narrative written off-screen that throws a deeper wrinkle into what might be happening or why. Alice and her new romantic interest, Jack, are not wholly developed and Alice’s mounting inclusion into the metaphysical remained a bit at arm’s length.

The book begins a slow burn to the premise and may have benefited somewhat by shortening the serious transcendentalist arguments. Still, it was a very well-plotted narrative with a cast of suitable characters and intelligent dialogue. I kept waiting for the antagonist to be divulged and was quite surprised (denying to the very end) the ease into the disquieting conclusion.

While this may have been a bit heavy for me on the metaphysical, a reader who enjoys a hearty transcendentalist discussion with occult, supernatural, mystical, or paranormal practices would benefit from the obvious knowledge of the author.

Book Details:

Genre: Occult Fiction, Ghost Fiction
ASIN: B082VN7M2T
Print Length: 369 pages
Publication Date: December 17, 2019
Source: Direct author request
Title Link: Forgiveness Falls 

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Kate James - authorThe Author: Kate James is a successful coach, meditation teacher, speaker and writer who lives south of Melbourne. Kate helps her clients discover their values and innate strengths and guides them toward purposeful, meaningful lives. Her business is called Total Balance.

©2020 V Williams V Williams