Haunted House Ghost: Death At The Fall Festival (2019) is the fifth book in author James J. Cudney’s Braxton Campus Mysteries series.
Previously I have read the first two books in this series but when I came to continuing with this series, I couldn’t help skipping ahead to this book with the season of Halloween that is in it but I plan to return to books three and four in the future.
In this outing, the protagonist of the series Kellan finds himself with a Halloween-themed mystery on his hands after he moves into a new house which has a very spooky and mysterious history. The mystery dates back fifty years and it feels like the ghost of Prudence Grey might be haunting the house since then. But whoever is responsible for her death it seems may still be living in the town of Braxton where they have spent the last fifty years literally getting away with murder. Soon Prudence’s skeleton is found and a confession quickly is offered by a member of the community. But is all quite as it seems?
The mystery side of this story is great with numerous twists and turns which keep you turning the pages. I didn’t work out the mysterious murderer so that’s always something great for mysteries. The author fantastically put in many red herrings to push the reader off the scent of the real killer which always makes for a fun read. The book had a very Agatha Christie feel to it especially the gathering of the suspects at the end for the big reveal and the use of acting out the paranormal which as a major Agatha Christie fan I enjoyed reading in a contemporary book. Kellan’s grandmother Nana D was back. She is one amazingly fierce, honest, cool woman and I love her and seeing what she is getting up now is always a highlight for me in this series. Very fond of her indeed. Constance is a new character I met and I liked her too so I’m looking forward to seeing how she gets on in future books. It was also great to read the romantic element to the story and a joy to finally see Kellan and April together. I think they fit together wonderfully and am also looking forward to seeing how their relationship progresses in books to come.There was also a lot more of Kellan’s young daughter Emma’s personality showing through in this book and she seems a cool, strong, caring young girl. There was also many references to Halloween which was cool as it’s one of my favourite seasons.
All in all this is a great Halloween read and a great catch-up with all the gang. Completely holds your interest throughout. There is a great array of suspects and investigators and a really strong plot with no loopholes.
A joy to read and perfect for Halloween.
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Deception … (2019) by Aaron D Hawkins is a brilliant short read.
The story follows protagonist Geloni who is a final year high school student in Tennessee. He is out as being gay in school and is being bullied by homophobic jock Shawn and his equally homophobic friends/gang. Shawn’s fellow jock Des is secretly gay and secretly likes Geloni. Meanwhile an alien Issideron is indent on going on a killing spree. It takes over Shawn and goes about murder and making destruction. Add into this a Native American woman Tsistunagiska who is sent to take Issideron down. When she arrives, she is given a new temporary name Lynn Jackson and the government and police going around in circles trying to stop Issideron harming anyone else.
I loved this book. The author’s writing style is fantastic, original and very natural. I loved the way Hawkins brought many important themes into the book like bullying, mental health and prejudice. These topics are spoken about sensitively and with excellent honesty. Hawkins really highlights these issues without apologies and I love that. The characters all add something to the story. I actually have five favourite characters from this story. Geloni and Des are super cute together and really made for each other. You really get to know their stories and are rooting for them against the obstacles they face as a new couple. I love them both. I love Tsistunagiska too. She is so strong and brave. She doesn’t run away from her duty to bring Issideron down. She’s fantastic. I love Tre, Geloni’s best friend, and Brenda, Geloni’s mother. They are both super supportive of Geloni and of his and Des’ relationship. Their fab!
This is a very well-put together book which easily held my attention throughout. It is a great Halloween read with characters you care about, characters you can’t stand and great, original storytelling. It was a page-tuner with good humour in it too. The book is actually free on Smashwords and I highly recommend you check it out.
Great read and great writing!
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Hear Them Scream (2019) by Kristen Middleton, K.L. Middleton and Cassie Alexandra is an intriguing thriller which easily keeps your attention throughout.
The story is told from two perspectives. On one hand we see the story through the eyes of Whitney Halverson and on the other hand through the eyes of the mysterious killer called The Director. The is a Summit Lake murder mystery where two young women are killed at the hands of a secret killer who wants to record their screams for movies he is making for the eerie side of the internet. The second woman he kills is Whitney’s twin sister Brittany when he is attempting to recreate Psycho’s shower scene. Following the disappearance of Brittany at first, Whitney begins investigating. She had been due to join her sister for a holiday when her sister ran into this psycho recreating Psycho.
What ensues is a fantastic thriller with so many suspects and twists and turns that readers will find themselves on the edge of their seats throughout. Is the Director acting alone or not? Who can Whitney trust if anyone? And with so little leads, can she ever get justice for her sister?
It is a fantastic read. The authors do a great job of making so many people suspects whether that’s as the Director or as an accomplice of the Director. I won’t say the Director’s actual identity never crossed my mind while reading but then practically every male character in the story did so that’s great writing! The story is also as much about the love and bond between Whitney and Brittany as the murder mystery element and their love and bond for each other makes you care as a reader so much. We get great backstory on their relationship and feel like we are truly on the journey to capturing this mysterious killer with Whitney.
Very engrossing. A real page-turner and a great mystery read for Halloween!
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The Sister Lakes Monster (2019) by Ilena F. Holder is a wonderful short read which is perfect for this Halloween period.
The story follows protagonist Hollie who gets a job with the Sister Lakes Chamber of Commerce and begins working on their haunted house project for Halloween. But her new position brings with it a lot more than she bargained for after she decides to cover the marsh monster who reportedly escaped fifty years previously. She and her friend Nikki begin to decorate the Hiltz farm for Halloween and suddenly Hollie finds herself getting a weird written message and the impression that someone is watching her every move. Is it the marsh monster back for revenge?
The character of Hollie is great, very relatable too. Prior to getting the job, she is unemployed and at home watching murder mysteries on TV so we get to know Hollie as a person outside of her job and the monster marsh case. This helps readers to find themselves rooting for her more when she finds herself in danger and finds herself trying to make more of her life. The author also writes about the mental health issues Hollie faces in a realistic and sensitive way. Hollie’s husband Evan very obviously loves Hollie and feels the job will take her mind off her demons and encourages and supports her all the way which touched my heart.
The mystery element is gorgeously crafted and Holder packed a lot of detail about the mystery into such a short read which is not an easy feat. I was engrossed to slowly find out the history of the marsh monster and to ultimately find out who was doing this. Very gripping.
Plenty of supernatural and horror elements, an amazing main character, great supporting characters and great storytelling combine here to tell a fantastic tale just in time for Halloween.
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The streets were lit up. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and rushed on dragging my blood soaked leg behind me.
I didn’t know how long I could run from these people without them slitting my throat. For days, I had been locked in that dungeon of theirs, without water, without food, worried I would be tortured further but somehow I had escaped …
And with their diamonds worth millions too. I needed to find the airport, start a new life as a new identity. Sun myself, finally know what luxury is all about.
I hear familiar voices …
My book Black Coat based on a previous Friday Fictioneers prompt is available at:
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My short story Little White Lies appears in this week’s Woman’s Way!
I loved writing it. I was writing from the POV of this very unlikable character but it has a lot of comedy in it as well. As always thank you to the Woman’s Way team in Ireland for giving my work a space in their magazine and for the beautiful layout and illustrations accompanying the story. I’m so happy with how everything turned out.
If you get the chance, please do check it out & thank you in advance! Also in the mag is a wonderful short story Hearts and flowers by Mary Griffin, a book extract from Everyday Ubuntu by Mungi Ngomane as well as a host of wonderful other sections to enjoy! 🙂