Accidents Happen

Accidents Happen, first published 2017, an e-book copyright and written by Sharon Karaa.

Plot: Tabitha Brownlee, last minute shopping for her upcoming wedding, witnesses a horrible automobile accident where one of the boys is thrown through the windshield. She runs to his aid but is struck on the head by a huge sign whose support has been weakened in the accident. Mort, a ‘collector-of-souls’ (formerly referred to as a ‘grim reaper’) delivers the coup d’grâce so she won’t feel the blow. Unfortunately, she is not due to ‘crossover’ for a long time. She arises from her body, argues with him while he is trying to replace her (her soul) back into the body. She is a martial arts black belt, pushes him, he lands in her body, it is zipped-up and that’s it. She is directed to the counter that handles distribution of collected souls and referred to Death (a heavy drinking old man who doesn’t like to be disturbed), to plead her case. She is assigned to work with another collector Cooper, a handsome hulk, who is a seemingly more or less permanent collector because of a story of his own. From here the reader is taken on a journey following Tabitha as she functions in her role, all of the while awaiting her call to be returned to her body that now contains Mort, the overanxious collector who messed up to begin with. Numerous other zany situations occur during soul collecting assignments and with her mother, who seemingly is hopeless mentally incompetent but loves to ride her motorcycle although not licensed, and the mother’s attempted clandestine interrelationship with Mort, who now is in her daughter’s body. Through it all, a mutual physical attraction gradually develops between Tabitha and Cooper, although hampered by her expected marriage to John as soon as she is restored to her own body. Further understanding of the situations only can be gained by working one’s way through the complicated case.

Discussion: The basic theme of and approach to, this fascinating tale, as well as its presentation, is quite engaging. Regrettably for this reader, the tale began to ‘bog down’ somewhere a little beyond mid-story, a situation that judicious editing, and especially of the extended interplay between Tabitha and Coop, would easily have corrected. However and parenthetically, an end note by the author offers intriguing insight to the author’s thought processes and adds a rather delightful touch to the story. She tells of how elevating she finds it to be by simply looking at the many good ‘little things’ that happen during a day. She then concludes “Because it’s all about perspective. It’s all about the little things. And so to close, I’d like to wish you all a hundred little things. May your day be filled with them, and may they infect you with happiness.”

3* 5* amusingly engaging tale; judicious editing needed to enhance enjoyment.



The Haunting

The Haunting, a paranormal romance in e-book published, copyright and written by Raymond M. Hall.

Plot: Sebastian Carmichael, one of the world’s foremost pianists apparently had recovered from a spectacular collapse during a concert. He decided he wanted nothing more than to find some way of life different than that he had been living. Thus mentally engaged, he was driving north from London along the motorway when suddenly he saw police lights flashing behind him. He looked at the speedometer and with a shock realized he was cruising along at one hundred thirty. Fortunately, one of the officers who stopped him was a classical buff and let him go with a warning. He continued and finally decided on following a teen-age hobby. His father, killed in a road accident along with his mother twenty years ago, had a construction business and the youngster had spent many hours around building sites. In fact he had expected to emulate his father until a music teacher had recognized his talent and had suggested scholarships that lead to rather rapid advancement into his elevated state as a musician of distinction. Now decided, and having reached the flat Lincolnshire fields, he pulled off at a ramp to Upper Marston. Wandering through the quaint village he noticed one with properties for sale. He entered, engaged the agent in small talk until the man obviously was ready to leave. He asked about an Inn. Was recommended to The Nags Head and offered to buy the agent dinner and share a bottle of wine deciding that he already loved the general atmosphere and wanted to continue to learn more. He needed to   expand the relaxation that rapidly was growing upon him. The evening was enjoyable and the next day, he returned to look at the properties available. He was completely tired of the years of constant planning and rigid execution required for his busy concert schedule where his life had become so completely directed, he had no time for marriage or even for real enjoyment. He even had contemplated killing himself. Now he was completely free to do what he wanted when he wanted to, he still was young and had ‘buckets of money’, so why not act impetuously? He looked at many but none that would provide anything for him to do. And he wanted to actively return to his youthful roots of building something. Finally, he saw a broken down bakery that had been deserted for years. The agent told him it had been on the market so long because it was shunned because it purportedly was haunted. Not believing in such things he bought the property and began completely gutting and rebuilding at a sizeable, but acceptable, jolt to his bank account.

The story next quickly turns to Seth Bishop, and his sons Luke and Tom, the original owners of the bakery in the 1700’s, Luke’s marriage to Bethany Abnett, a gypsy girl whom he completely adores, and their resulting fate from Cromwell’s harsh attempts to abolish all of the Roma. From this point forward, the reader repeatedly is moved intermittently among these and numerous other characters of the era and Sebastian’s activities, his willful sister Caroline, Briody, a beautiful woman under whose charm he falls completely, and more. The people of the ancient era, as well as the present, are both very good and very bad, and many often appear to be a part of the strange occurrences constantly besetting Sebastian’s newly acquired home.

Discussion: It would be distinctly a disfavor to provide further details to prospective readers of this paranormal tale peopled with quite a number of interesting characters that mostly the reader can love or hate. Further, the author has placed them in a plot that progresses at a lively, although somewhat uneven pace. (Actually the tale provides several interwoven tales.) However, paranormal devotees should enjoy the story and especially so when the final ‘fitting together’ of much of material, although probably already suspected by the reader, is not fully ‘spelled out’ until the final few pages.

4* Interestingly characterized and plotted paranormal romance.