|Debora Hill: A Ghost Among Us|
Publishing (Trade Paperback), ISBN 1-585500178
Recently, members of the DorothyL online mystery list discussed "books we should have flung against the wall." Up until reading A Ghost Among Us, I didn't think a book, other than my high school Geometry textbook, could qualify for book slinging.
The writing waffles from barely more than rough draft stream-of-consciousness to surprisingly smooth flashbacks set in 17th century London. The flashbacks represent the up-side of this book. Yet sadly, even this stronger story line lacks originality.
In a scene reminiscent
of a Charlie's Angels intro, we meet three friends who eventually
live together in present day London. Dierdre, a television interviewer;
Charlotte, a fashion photographer; and Natalie, a fantasy artist, find
a remarkably large house at an amazingly affordable price for the three
of them to share. Of course, it's haunted by an endearing ghost, Major
Jerome Kennington, a murder victim slain on his wedding night. Jerome
wants to go to the other side to be with his beloved bride, Lady Alicia
Mannerly, but the mystery surrounding his death keeps him between worlds,
so to speak.
These women with fantasy jobs quickly find their respective Mr. Rights, jump in and out of bed at a super-human rate and decide to help Jerome reunite with his beloved, who seems to have married the best suspect in the major's death.
Rants, happily-ever-after modern day fantasy, wealthy lifestyles, and an explanation of heaven that involves computer nerd angels swirl around this ghostly murder mystery that crosses centuries. Snide asides pop from mouths at the oddest moments and even the exposition takes a few shots. Comments about "towel-heads," "Yanks" and any other vulnerable ethnicity or nationality neither move the story forward nor enrich the characterizations.
"It wasn't only the place itself she hated…filled with Arab men and tourists…the former were the bane of her existence. Twice she'd been arrested for assault when the harassment got to be too much and she took a swing at one of the swaggering, splashily-dressed young bucks who paraded Queensway. The charges had been dropped…what self-respecting Moslem male would admit to having his nose broken by a woman? But Charlotte knew it was just a matter of time before she wound up dead or killed one of the assholes."
Moslem males play no part in the plot, yet the vitriolic narrator targets them nonetheless.
Somehow a story line about the inhumanity of medical research on animals filters into the mix and takes the women, their men and even the ghost on a trip to rescue kittens, puppies and a monkey.
Sometimes people remark, "That kid's so ugly, he's cute!" I can't say that about this ghostly, Regency/modern day mystery. After wading through 242 pages with more mistakes than I ever encountered in a reviewer's copy before, I struggled to find something good to say in a review.
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