Monday, January 16, 2017

Have You Heard? - Demons are a Ghoul's Best Friend by Victoria Laurie

“Have You Heard?” is a column featured only on Lesa’s Book Critiques.  It features many reviews of audiobooks (fiction, with a concentration in mysteries) but these reviews will include recent and past books for an interesting mixture of titles. Content is usually written by Sandie Herron.  It also covers news of note and not generally available, such as ASAP publishing a limited edition for a certain author or perhaps something important out of Publisher’s Weekly.  The column is published sporadically, so you’ll want to watch for it! are a Ghoul's Best Friend
Ghost Hunter mystery #2
Written by Victoria Laurie, Narrated by Eileen Stevens  
Unabridged Audiobook, Listening Time:  8 hours 57 mins
Published by Audible Studios, C 2008, released on audio 1/27/10
ASIN: B00367EX1G
5 of 5 stars ★★★★★

As the second book in this ghoulish series opens, we discover that Dr. Steven Sable enjoyed the process of ghost busting when trying to contact his grandfather in book one, he invests in the partnership of MJ Holliday and Gilley Gillespie. With his influx of cash, they are able to buy all sorts of new equipment: night vision cameras, handheld computer thermal imaging devices, electronic energy detectors, some brand new, state-of-the-art walkie talkies, video monitors, digital cameras, a laptop, and a shiny new van to put it all in.

It will all come in handy soon, since one of MJ’s friends, Karen O’Neal, has stopped into the office. She got a phone call from her niece Evie telling her she’d been chased through school by a man with an axe. She attended an exclusive boarding school near Lake Placid, New York. Security cameras were mounted in the school at the beginning of the school year, and a review of those tapes show Evie running through the hallways but no one was visible chasing her. Karen’s brother, Evie’s dad, is convinced that Evie is suffering from some psychosis and needs to see a psychiatrist. He doesn’t believe her story at all. So Karen hires MJ and Gilley and Steven to visit the school and find out what’s going on.

When the four arrived at Northelm Boarding School, they found it letting out for the summer. An older section of the school was to be converted into dorm rooms over the summer, so no one was allowed in that wing. The dean of the school was adamant that they not have access to any of the school because no one would be there except construction crews, and they had a very tight schedule if they were to be finished by fall. Karen, who had gone with the trio, once dated the CEO of the well regarded construction company. Karen contacted him to try and get a week’s delay on the start of renovations so the ghost busters would have a chance to find the axe-wielding man.

Karen was successful, she informed them by phone, standing in Paris. Seems the CEO wanted another chance to romance her, this time throughout Europe. He had to do something with a week off. The dean finally caved and allowed them into the school but only parts not to be renovated and not in the old dean’s quarters where his brother Nicky lived, since he was mentally disabled. They found the axe-wielding ghost in the school. He had great energy and was able to move furniture about very quickly as he taunted them with pyramids of desks turned back to straight rows almost in an instant.

When Gilley saw and felt how strong this ghost was, he finally admitted something to MJ: he was afraid of ghosts! That’s why he always preferred to stay in the van, except this ghost attacked the van with what felt like a baseball bat. MJ made Gilley his very own special ghost-busting shirt – to which she glued magnets. Ghosts don’t like magnets for they disturb their own magnetic fields. She also made what they called grenades – a foot long magnet in a steel pipe capped to hold in the magnet until needed.

The ghost busters could not figure out why the dean denied them access to parts of the school, since this ghost went through the section that was to be converted to dorms. By the end of the book, we learn who this hatchet toting man was along with why the dean had tried to stop them from learning the entire truth. I can’t tell you about the chases and terrifying moments that took place nor where MJ found the portal that Hatchet Jack was using to move between planes. Many alumni of the school still lived in town and helped the team by filling them in on what happened 20 years ago and how it had continued into present day. One alumni especially filled in some background on the two child ghosts MJ found also running from Jack.

Steven helped out with this ghost bust, especially since Gilley had just confessed his fear of ghosts. Karen continued to call for updates from different countries in Europe. MJ took the lead even though she was physically injured by this violent ghost. There were a lot of people the narrator needed to speak for, and Eileen Stevens did a great job. Dr. Sable’s voice was very distinctive and different from others. Ms. Stevens does a terrific job of narrating the story in general and then adds in the extra features of each character . . . a performance to be commended.

This book was definitely a paranormal story, and just as strongly was a mystery with many twists and turns. I didn’t want to put it down. With the nasty ghost running loose and kids at risk, it was hard to not think about the storylines as they twisted and turned into a knot with Hatchet Jack unwillingly in the middle. You will definitely find yourself whooping it up in the end and cheering the ghost busters. Evie will be just fine in the fall. Now I can get some relaxing sleep at least until I begin the third book in this ghoulish series – GHOULS JUST HAUNT TO HAVE FUN.

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