Saturday, April 30, 2011

Under the Eye of Kali

Under the Eye of Kali is a beautiful book; the cover, the writing, the obvious knowledge of India and her culture. Set in the tourist town of Kovalan, Susan Oleksiw, introduces us to Anita Ray, a half-Indian, half-American photographer.

Anita is the manager of her Auntie Meena's Hotel Delite and in that role becomes involved in an American tourist mystery. Four American women meet at the hotel, each traveling different paths. Jean comes up missing - Emily desperately ill. Anita takes it upon herself to unravel the mystery surrounding these guests. 

If you have always wanted to know India; the food, the customs, the legends linked to Kali, then by all means read this book. Oleksiw has traveled extensively in that country and shares her experience in wonderful detail. I confess to having a problem following the main plot. The undertow of subplots and agendas seemed to distract. Aside from that it is a book of excellent literary skill and an interesting read. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Night of the Living Deed

Are you afraid of ghosts? After reading The Night of the Living Deed by E. J. Copperman, you might change your mind. It's a romp of a read taking you through a hundred year old mansion on the New Jersey coast. Introducing you to characters, both living and dead, that will entertain, delight and generally make you laugh out loud.

Alison Kerby and her nine year old daughter, Melissa, have purchased the old house in order to begin life anew after Alison's ex 'The Swine' has packed his bags for brighter country. They have dreams of renovating the mansion and making it a year round guesthouse. That is, until they discover they are not living there alone.

Paul, a young private detective and his client, Maxie, are permanent residents. They both died in the house and find it impossible to leave. They need to know who killed them. The list of suspects is long - from the mayor, to a big time amorous real estate developer, to an overzealous history teacher. Who sent Maxie threatening emails? Why is Alison receiving similar ones?  And, what's this about an old document? The newly positioned chief of police would also like answers to questions but she and Alison seem at odds, especially when the chief is forced to visit the haunted house. You've got to love Alison's Mom and her solution to a dangerous scenario in the town cemetery.

One of the quirky little things I loved about this book is that E. J. Copperman has re-invented a very old ploy - talking directly to the reader. I found it amusing. The whole book was a fast, fun read. Not in the least bit scary except many when Tony, a friend and helper, gets his first 'ghostly' kiss. Now, that would be unnerving.
The Night of the Living Deed is the first in the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery Series.

I know most of my readers are too young to remember Jimmy Durante and his infamous 'Miss Calabash' but for those of you who do remember - 'Goodnight, E.J. Copperman, who ever you are.'

Friday, April 8, 2011

Those Who Fight Monsters - Tales of Occult Detectives

Are there really gnomes living in underground sewers? Do they steal and 'dust' little girls? Are there monsters masquerading as humans that kill unborn babies? Who do you contact when you've made a pact with the Devil? Fourteen short stories, edited by Justin Gustainis, explore the possibilities of all things supernatural and embraces the courage and resourcefulness of  the occult detectives who protect the world and its inhabitants. 

From Kate Conner's Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom to Pete Caldecott's Black London Series, stories of the bizarre, the incredulous and 'down right creepy' come to life in Those Who Fight Monsters. Be warned - it may keep you up past your bedtime.

 Urban fantasy, which is the term for this type of storytelling, is relatively new but tales of monsters and monster hunters predate the famed Frankenstein and Dracula. There has always been an interest in the unknown and there have always been writers who scale the pinnacle of their imagination to create horrendous creatures that must be pitted against larger forces and superior intelligence. Gustainis, in this book has brought together fourteen, including himself, excellent storytellers.

I admit this is not normally a book I would read. If the use of raw language offends you, or you have a squeamish stomach you might want to give it a pass. But if you are up for something different - pick up a copy of Those Who Fight Monsters and get to know these incredible occult detectives.