Something Witchy This Way Comes, (previously published as Murder Spell) is a mystery in The Victorian Witch Chronicles in e-book form by Fiola Tempest.
Plot: The tale opens with Tellehandra Quin McMurry, preferably called Viola, revealing that life on her landed gentry father’s estate in Galway County, Ireland had been a happy one with her sisters and mother whom her father referred to “as wild as the land”. Suddenly and for reasons unknown to her, they suddenly disappeared and shortly thereafter her father passed away leaving her a 15-year-old orphan. She was left as the sole heir to her father’s sizeable estate and according to the law of the period her money would be transferred to her husband upon marriage unless she did not marry until the age of 25, when the inheritance could be hers. Her uncle, suspected of being a heavy gambler as well as perpetrator of other nefarious schemes, is appointed her legal guardian. The story progresses revolving around facts she discovers from a presumed lost letter and other slowly evolving evidence about the evilness of her guardian and of his son Thomas with whom the two attempt to force her into marriage. Simultaneously, evidence gradually reveals evidence that she may have some attachment to witchery and that this fact also may offer some explanation for her mother and sisters inexplicable disappeared. Mounting suspense is generated while Viola attempts to escape a deadly fate planned by her dastardly uncle and his son as she receives some help from an unusual source and also discovers the manner in which unsolved murders had been committed and by whom.
Discussion: This is a short story taking place in the late nineteenth century and manages to convey quite well a sense of the mores of the time as well as providing a feeling of ‘being in the era’. It moves well and should be thoroughly enjoyed by readers who take pleasure in fanciful tales of this period.
4* 5* For readers enjoying fanciful mystery tales with a touch of the occult.
Alien Abduction ISBN: 9780984026593, Laurel Canyon Press, an e-book by Irving Belateche.
Plot: Eddie is a middle-aged investigative reporter who obstinately hangs onto his job even when his salary repeatedly is reduced and his wife Jenny implores him to recognize the deteriorating publishing picture. Ultimately fired, he is faced with a suddenly desperate situation. He has little savings. Worse, he is no longer covered by health insurance. Jenny, who had been a TV producer and recently, at Eddie’s insistence, had turned down an offered job that would have provided some tie-over income, now, was discovered to have cancer requiring extensive and expensive therapy even to provide a possible 2-year survival. Another problem, their son Jake will not listen and change from his desired college selection to another that provides heavy scholarship aid and angrily calls Eddie a ‘loser’. His daughter Hannah, is a little kinder, but continues in her rebellious teenager role. Unable to find a job, he resorts to tutoring to provide at least some income. One of his students is Mason, son of Ben Kingsley, who Eddie surreptitiously discovers is a wealthy man but with an income from a vague employment source that Eddie believes would be helpful to him as well. Desperate, he forces Ben to take him to meet his employer. This turns out to be Abel, a cyclopoid alien. The cyclops is not pleased, does not require two employees, and so liquidates Ben and Eddie now is to replace him as the abductor of attractive young women. He must render them unconscious, transport them to Abel’s residence, wait for 20-30 minutes and return them to the place from which they were abducted. He is sorry to be in this position, but cannot decline or he will suffer the same fate as Ben. Compensation fortunately is in cash, minimally one hundred thousand dollars or more per abduction. The story progresses with his activities and those of Abel, Jenny and the rest and ultimately concludes on a difficult to believe level of satisfaction for Eddie and his family.
Discussion: !SPOILER ALERT! Most regrettably and apologetically this is one of the few books since some of the early offerings of POD publishing that does not seem to provide this reader with much in the way of material for positive comment. However, although the characters are thin, the author does depict Eddie and his family quite well as being illustrative of today’s often described family life. The protagonist is obstinate and does not present too prominent mental acuity; the son exhibits similar tendencies and the entire family is functionally at odds. The plot is acceptable but would benefit from reshaping and the action is slow moving and somewhat repetitive in movement about the city. The author further has been able to generate a certain amount of suspense at times which, regrettably for the most part fails to follow through. The ‘all’s well that ends well’ finale leaves this reader speechless.
2* For the author’s effort with this reviewer’s sincere regrets.