A Summer of Witches

A Summer of Witches (A molly Morgan Adventure), Copyright, written by M. Gandendran.

A Prologue presents a girl warning a group of smugglers in 1780 that the hated government agents were arriving so they needed to hide their stolen contraband (tea, salt, spirits) and escape immediately. Her brother Jeremiah, leader of the group decides he wants to save them with a successful ruse but he is caught and jailed, probably to hang. He makes a vow that his good work is not finished yet (and the reader discovers much later that he was correct). The story then opens in 1940 when young teen Lawrence and 12-year-old Rachel meet on a train while being moved from the heavily bombed cities of Portsmouth and London to the small country village of Burley lying close to a huge forest. They are assigned to a Mrs. Fernley for the duration of the hostilities. The plot next takes the reader to 1990 when the parents of young Nick Rivers decides to move to the country because of his repeated bouts with bronchitis. Until they can find proper housing and new jobs, he is sent to live with his Aunt Clarissa who lives in this same town. Here he meets Molly who tells him the forest has always been known for its myth and magic and in the ‘50’s a famous white witch, Sybil Leek. She also professes that her mother, a seemingly ‘hippy’ type individual, is a witch but really only is knowledgeable of herbs and other medicinal matters. The next chapter returns the reader to 1940 where Rachel and Lawrence are awakened and follow a crowd into the forest where strange ‘witchcraft-like’ happenings occur causing them to run away as fast as they can. The next day they go to the post office and find the postmistress was found dead in the forest. From this moment on the tale pursues a growing adventure involving witchcraft, evil influences of a deadly nature, ghosts and more, all exacerbated by Molly discovering her grandmother’s diary that evokes more questions instead of providing answers. Especially pertinent is an activity concerning the often voiced question of why the Nazis did not attempt to invade England during WW II.

The author has written a tale of the supernatural ostensibly for young adults but has done so in a most interestingly creative manner. The various periods, including that from the seventeen hundreds, have been nicely melded together so as to provide a smooth whole and the characters are most empathetically presented so actually, the tale certainly offers a fascinating read for anyone of any age who enjoys a little mystery included in a story of the occult.

5* Charmingly written tale of the occult.

Pianos and Penance

Pianos and Penance, Gifford Ulrich Book 2 ISBN: 9781500242817, an e-book by Dan Groat.

The reader is introduced to Gifford Ulrich, a 230 pound ex-Navy Seal whose only friend is a small dog named Tobias. After some time as a homeless wanderer with aspects of PTSD and unexpectedly solving of a high profile case involving characters associated with the mob, he now has a job, a 34 year old car and is living in one of a four apartment complex. He is friendly and helpful and when a 40 + year old neighbor is missing he follows her tracks in the snow to discover her small dog, which she had apparently followed, tied to a tree and continues to find her dead body. The story progresses as he becomes involved in attempting to find the killer with distinct police instructions not to do so. However, he has quiet help from a prominent investigator, another neighbor, a fellow worker and another brilliant detective who is retired with failing eyesight and some other problems. Along the way he gradually gains a degree of ‘healing’ of his emotional trauma through a growing sense of bonding with the ‘team’ he has gathered, solves the quite involved case and is provided with a, for him, dilematous choice for the direction of his future. A little judicious editing would have enhanced the books enjoyment even more.

The author has provided another interestingly and well-written tale with an intriguing, well-devised plot and credible characters that readers of mystery stories should really appreciate.

4* Interesting credible characters immersed in a fascinating plot.