Review: The Ghost and the Haunted Mansion by Alice Kimberly

Ghost and the Haunted Mansion, theThe Ghost and the Haunted Mansion
Alice Kimberly
Berkley, 304 pages
Get it from >>

I don’t know what the prices of homes for sale in Alice Kimberly’s fictional Quindicott, RI are like, but considering the number of murders in that town, I bet they’re falling. The most recent death occurs in the most recent – to date – novel in the Haunted Bookshop series, and involves an old woman who lives as a recluse being literally scared to death. Local mailmain Seymour Tarnish inherits the woman’s mansion – in the toniest part of town, of course – and that’s when the real hijinks begin.

Pen and her ghostly partner, private investigator Jack Shepard are back on the case of course, though their relationship is a bit cooler than it was in the previous novel. Maybe the author figured out she’d painted herself into a corner with these two, or maybe she merely wanted to focus on plot, but I like them better as a mismatched pair who fight crime, than lovers separated by death…mostly. Of course, some of that coolness may be due to the fact that one of the other characters can SEE and HEAR Jack.

Speaking of Jack, can you believe it’s taken me this long to figure out he’s got the same name as the ersatz leader of the LOSTaways? I wonder if that’s intentional, or mere coincidence – of course there is a spelling difference.

In any case, this was, as always, an enjoyable, entertaining read, if not exactly great literature.

My only complaint? There’s no more of this series…yet.

Review: Whom God Would Destroy by Commander Pants

Whom God Would Destroy
Whom God Would Destroy
by Commander Pands
Pantsateria, 300 pages
Get it from >>

When an author called “Commander Pants” contacted me asking if I’d read his book, Whom God Would Destroy, comparing it to the often-absurd work of Christopher Moore, whose writing I love, I was a bit skeptical. In truth, I was a bit worried that this book would be fodder for fueling an outdoor fireplace, rather than an entertaining read.

Two chapters into the book, I was happily proved wrong, and even though I began reading it in late October, and finally finished it in January (due to it getting lost in the house, my reading mood changing, etc.), I have to say it was one of the most provocative and funny novels I’ve read in a long time, and you should not assume that the fact that it took me seventeen years – well, seventeen weeks – to finish is at all a commentary on the book itself.

The basic premise is simple: God, calling himself “Jeremy” comes back to earth to check up on us. Of course, life has changed a lot since the robe and sandals days of Jesus, and he has to assimilate everything from fast food to digital information and public access cable. That alone would make any novel entertaining, but then Commander Pants ups the ante, introducing us to patients and caregivers in a mental health facility, and using his absurd tale to confront the very brutal realities of sanity vs. insanity, socially acceptable behavior, and mind altering prescription drugs ranging from “mild” anti-depressants to anti-psychotics.

And that’s all before we find out that the aliens just might be real, after all.

If you want a rollicking good read that really examines the social conventions of mental health, you need to read Whom God Would Destroy.

Tuesday Teaser: The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.

On Teaser Tuesdays readers are asked to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between 7 and 12 lines.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given.

As much as I’d rather be looking at different options for redecorating my kitchen, weighing the virtues of Kohler vs. Grohe, and such, I can’t afford to do more than fantasize right now, which is why I’m in another reading mood. (Note to COMMANDER PANTS: Look for the review of your book later this week. Really.) One of my favorite authors is Christopher Moore, and I’m about to start a novel of his that I bought last summer – or the summer before – and never got around to reading.

So here’s my teaser, from The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, by Christopher Moore, page 102:

To distract herself from the dragon next door, Molly had put on her sweats and started to clean her trailer. She got as far as filling three black trash bags with junk food jetsam and was getting ready to vacuum up the collection of sow bug corpses that dotted her carpet when she made the mistake of Windexing the television. Outland Steel: Kendra’s Revenge was playing on the VCR and when the droplets of Windex hit the screen, they magnified the phospphorescent dots, making the picture look like an impressionist painting: Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Le Grande Warrior Babe, perhaps.