Today I review the second novel in a new series. Although I hadn't read the first in the series, that didn't detract from this book. It was easy to follow. As far as I can tell Lena Gregory is a newly published author on the scene as well (congratulations !). Read on to see my thoughts on this book.
Copyright: April 2017 (Berkley) 299 pgs
Series: 2nd in Bay Island Psychic Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy with paranormal elements
Main Characters: Cass Donovan, former psychiatrist now owner of psychic shop
Setting: Modern day, Bay Island (near Long Island NY)
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
The outlook is not so good for Cass’s psychic shop, Mystical Musings. With winter winds discouraging tourists from riding the ferry from Long Island to Bay Island, Cass hopes to draw in more customers by hosting a murder mystery weekend, complete with a séance, in a supposedly haunted mansion during it's grand opening as a Bed and Breakfast.
But Cass begins to lose her spirit when her ex-husband Donald Larson shows up, along with his fiancée Sylvia—Cass’s ex-best friend. Then, after one of the owners is found dead, a blizzard blows in, trapping everyone inside with a murderer. Now Cass must divine who did the deed before her reputation and her livelihood fade away.
Cass is a likable character, haunted by the death of one of her psychiatric patients and the betrayal of her husband and best friend. She is conflicted over whether she is psychic or just utilizing psychiatric skills to read people. But the reader is given the indication that she is the real deal and hasn't fully accepted that fact yet.
Bee Maxwell, owner and designer of a popular dress shop and close friend of Cass and comic relief of the series. Fair warning, some of his behavior is a bit over-the-top.
Stephanie Lawrence, married to policeman named Tank, is another close friend of Cass. Luke, the love interest who is scarcely present since he doesn't live or work on the island. Ex-husband Donald is present through the weekend and we get a clear idea what a jerk he must have been as a husband. Beast, a puppy but giant sized Leonberger with no training that chews on and eats most everything in site. This is another comedy element - but I was too busy fretting over what he would destroy to enjoy the humor.
The old Madison estate, owned by the Wellington's was a great setting for a little creepy feel during the séance and the snow storm adds to the feel. I liked that extra touch plus the mild indications that Cass really was contacting somebody during the séance and her readings are truly psychic. Although some aspects of the whodunit were more obvious, there is a twist that I didn't see coming. Nicely done.
I love suspenseful or tense killer confrontation/reveal and this was fast and suspenseful. I liked the story and characters well enough, but the third person writing did seem to remove any sense of urgency for me. Cass isn't perfect but makes an interesting heroine and her two sidekicks plus dog provide plenty of laughs for an enjoyable escape.
Rating: Good - A fun read with humor, give it a try
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