Jan. 14th, 2017

chez_jae: (Books)
Apparently, reading books is the new job.


Between last night and this evening, I polished off Keeper of the Castle by Juliet Blackwell. The book is part of her "Haunted Home Renovation" mystery series, featuring contractor (and reluctant ghost buster) Melanie "Mel" Turner.

While Mel is struggling to find enough work to keep her construction crew busy, her boyfriend Graham is busy at the site where an old Scottish monastery is being reconstructed in Marin County, after having been dismantled in Scotland and shipped over. The crew on the project is frightened because of paranormal activity. Graham asks Mel to come look at the site with him to see if she can connect with any ghosts. During Mel's visit, a building inspector is killed, and the construction crew's foreman is arrested for murder. The billionaire who's funding the project, Ellis Elrich, hires Mel to come in and take over the reconstruction. Due to the distance from her home, Elrich invites Mel to stay at his estate during the process.

Mel doesn't believe the former foreman is a murderer, and she encounters a plethora of suspects, both on-site and at Elrich's estate. There are protesters at the gates to the estate, deadly looking bodyguards, a personal assistant who would do anything for Mr Elrich, an an eccentric expert in historic reconstruction. Also, there's the ghost of a Scottish warrior who brandishes a broadsword and chases people out of the tower room. Not only does Mel feel compelled to unravel the mystery, both of the recent murder and the ancient haunting, but Graham is injured on-site, her (former) stepson gets arrested for vandalism, and now her father has a smart phone and is responding to her voice mails with text messages.

Fun and fast moving. I had a difficult time putting the book down last night (I took it to bed with me!). I adore Mel's character. She's hard-working, tough enough to handle being a woman in a male-dominated profession, yet still uncertain of her relationship with Graham. She's also determined to speak with the ghost of the Scottish warrior, in spite of her own fears. The plot was excellent and introduced several potential suspects. I didn't quite figure it out, although I did give a passing thought to the culprit before glossing over that person and seeking elsewhere.

Favorite lines:
♦ I was the opposite of the kind of person you wanted in your foxhole when hell started raining down.
♦ Dad, Stan, and Caleb looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Dog looked at me as though waiting for me to drop some food, but that was his typical stare.
♦ Was I being hunky punked?

Fabulous book, five stars!



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