REVIEW: THE VANISHING, BY JAYNE ANN KRENTZ

 

Decades ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, The Incident occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases. The residents slept for two days. When they woke up they discovered that things had changed—they had changed. Some started having visions. Others heard ominous voices. And then, scientists from a mysterious government agency arrived. Determined not to become research subjects of strange experiments, the residents of Fogg Lake blamed their “hallucinations” on food poisoning, and the story worked. But now it has become apparent that the eerie effects of The Incident are showing up in the descendants of Fogg Lake.…

Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair, best friends and co-owners of an investigation firm in Seattle, use what they call their “other sight” to help solve cases. When Olivia suddenly vanishes one night, Cat frantically begins the search for her friend. No one takes the disappearance seriously except Slater Arganbright, an agent from a shadowy organization known only as the Foundation, who shows up at her firm with a cryptic warning.

A ruthless killer is hunting the only witnesses to a murder that occurred in the Fogg Lake caves fifteen years ago—Catalina and Olivia. And someone intends to make both women vanish.


We first meet Catalina and Olivia when they stumble into the caves and witness a murder. The explosion that left them forever changed will lead them to go along with the town residents in blaming the after effects on food poisoning, and it will be years before they realize that the visions they are seeing are actually useful and can help them solve cases.Their investigations become very personal when Olivia is snatched from the streets by the nefarious members of a group called Vortex.

As she follows clues, Catalina literally bumps into Slater Arganbright, a member of the Foundation, and together they will search for Olivia…and become connected in interesting ways.

Finding the truth about the caves and that long-ago murder will finally keep them safe and help the residents of Fogg Lake.

The Vanishing is an interesting tale that will become an ongoing quest in this new series. 4 stars.

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REVIEW: INK AND BONE, BY LISA UNGER

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A little girl lost on a hiking trail, a father and son shot, and a deep sadness that turns the mother into someone not really there. Someone wounded. Thus begins our story.

The man and boy would recover, but the memories of what happened and the guilt the father feels because he was on his phone when the abductors grabbed Abbey…those feelings and thoughts would always haunt him.

Wolf and Merri Gleason are broken. But Merri has not given up, and travels back to The Hollows, in upstate New York, to hire a P.I. named Jones Cooper, a man who has been known to solve cases with the help of a local psychic, Eloise Montgomery.

Finley, Eloise’s granddaughter, is a tough looking young woman with spiky hair and lots of tattoos. Her body was a living canvas of ink and bone. Like her grandmother, though, she has the gift. She hears and sees things that others do not. Sometimes it is hard for her to distinguish between the real and unreal. The sounds she hears, like the “squeak-clink” that is so repetitive, often are trying to tell her something. Could what she hears and sees have something to do with Abbey Gleason’s disappearance, or perhaps the other missing girls, like Eliza Fitzpatrick and so many more? She has agreed to work with Jones Cooper to try to find little Abbey.

Ink and Bone was a surreal story that took the reader into the world of The Whispers and The Others, showing us what Finley is seeing and hearing, and following her down the various pathways into the woods and mines, hoping to find the answers. Could those who have taken the children be the unseen individuals who live off the grid, but who quietly work among the other residents, unnoticed because they are so broken and flawed?

Would there be a happy ending for any of the families? Could Finley and Jones fight their way through all the impossible barriers to bring some children home? Could the lost souls that have already gone ahead find peace at last? A riveting story that felt haunting and eerie, even as I kept rapidly turning pages, was a tale with no happy ending; it, however, was one in which I couldn’t guess what would ultimately happen until the very end. 5 stars.

***An e-ARC was received from the publisher via NetGalley.

REVIEW: RETURN TO TRADD STREET, BY KAREN WHITE

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Melanie Middleton, the psychic realtor, is back in her Tradd Street home, and no sooner is she settled in, than more problems surface.

This time, a crack appears in the foundation that requires major work. But what is unearthed in the process—the body of a baby that has been dead for many years—will launch another psychic investigation for Melanie. And it will happen at a most inopportune time, as she has discovered she is pregnant. With twins. And the father, Jack Trenholm, has asked her to marry him.

But she has refused, believing that he is only offering out of a sense of obligation.

The push-pull of their relationship kept me rapidly turning pages, wishing that the two of them would set aside their stubbornness and communicate.

And then, out of nowhere, along comes a couple from New York. The Gilberts claim that they are the rightful heirs to the Tradd Street home, and that they have proof. Their supposed link to the family line will require the exhumation of Nevin Vanderhorst’s body to check for a DNA match.

Reporters, historians, psychics….all join together to lead the reader on a rollicking journey. The spirits that inhabit the house are angry. One of them appears to Melanie, hissing the word “Mine.” What can explain the christening gowns that show up, matching the one discovered in the foundation? Does the mystery somehow involve ancestor John Vanderhorst’s two wives, Camille and Charlotte?

Set in Charleston, South Carolina, and narrated in Melanie’s first person perspective, I was as enthralled with the characters as I have been in the previous books. Melanie’s voice is self-deprecatory and funny, making me root for her and for her love interest, even when she has given up. And her obsessive-compulsive tendencies made me smile in recognition of my own need to organize and control things.

Rebecca, Melanie’s distant cousin, is an annoying character and a major foil to Melanie’s peace of mind. And her fiance, Marc Longo, was once Melanie’s lover, which definitely complicates things. Nola, Jack’s 14-year-old daughter, who came to join them all in the last book, has amazing qualities that belie her years, including a recording career.

In Return to Tradd Street, themes of home, love, and family spotlight how the very things we want most in life might slip away if we don’t fight for them.

I felt as though I was right there with them all, trying to solve the mysteries and bring Jack and Melanie together at last. Reading the previous books in the series is not necessary for enjoyment of this one, but reading them would help fill in some of the history of the house. Five stars.

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