THE SPIRIT by Linda Rettstatt
Tattle sweeps into the office dressed as a ghoul. "Five hundred count sheet!"
And you put two holes in it?"
"I needed to see, y'know. Besides, they are just about as old as I am, but they held up well."
"Just like you."
Tattle crinkles up her nose, not knowing if she had been complimented or not. "Well... errr..." Decides to let it go, and instead says, "What do ghosts eat for breakfast? Scream of wheat!"
"Ha-ha, not giving me a chance to answer, eh?"
"Nope. What do ghosts eat for dinner?"
"Spook-ghetti! And what is a ghost's favorite dessert?
Wrye does his own iconic eye roll, round and round and off to the right. "Ice scream! You know I've heard them all when I was about eight."
"Me too, but thought it a good way to introduce our spooktastic review."
"You are strange."
Ignores. "You may be right, m'literary Love of Literature leaper. Ready?"
"While reading LINDA RETTSTATT's paranormal, woman's contemporary THE SPIRIT we experienced goose bumps, chuckling, speculating, and breath catching in a continuous sequence of enjoyment."
"A grand story indeed. Jessica Windsor is a prolific romance author and single mom who just got dumped as in kicked to the curb, unloaded, ditched, abandoned, deserted, plain ole forsaken, and not once but twice, her son's father took a hike as well." Offers a woebegone expression. "Poor lass."
"Life isn't fair, and unfortunately, the dumping has produced that most dreaded of all afflictions ... for a writer that is... writers block! Da da da daaaaa!" Tattle offers a two-step to prove her point.
"And she has a deadline to finish a book, she can't seem to write. Her agent is dogging her like an old hound gnawing on a bone." Wrye picks up Bodie's doggie rag and pretends to chew. "In desperation, she leaves her teenage son at her parent's farm for the summer, to milk cows, her son's words, and rents a cabin in the hills of Pennsylvania."
Flings her ghostly attire aside and with dramatic flair booms, "A haunted cabin! Da da da daaaa!"
"Enough with the sound effects."
Tattle pouts but continues. "Haunted by Andrew McCabe, a famous mystery writer that the world thinks just disappeared. However, Andrew had been murdered and now wants the truth to be known, his lost love Laura to be found, and the murderer brought to justice. Since Jessica is the very first person who has been able to see him, in a not quite solid sort of way, he wants her to be his hands, ears, and spy to bring it all to light."
"Meanwhile, there is Ben, a hunky, yummy artist and handyman with his own bear-load of troubles, not the least of being an ex-con. Jessica is the first woman he had been attracted to since his unjust incarceration and his wife's desertion. Simultaneously, Jessica finds her broken heart being tugged and wrenched by the kind, caring man."
"But...." About to implement another sound effect, she restrains herself. "Jessica, having struck a bargain with Andrew to uncover all, has been asking one too many questions about his disappearance, putting herself in all sorts of danger."
"Da da da daaaaa!" Wrye exclaims.
"Is for horses, but this book is a wild ride that keeps pages turning and anticipation churning. You never know if you are in for a laugh or a bump in the night, and not all the bumps are the ghostly kind. The characters interact well, and keep you cheering them onward to their resolutions. Ben and Jessica have that meant-to-be aura, but there is also that fear they may be doomed or star-crossed."
"Secondary characters are three dimensional and you find yourself either liking them immensely or hating them totally. All are well-drawn and real. Then there is Andrew, the very charismatic specter with a tragic love-lost back story that has one bemoaning his demise." Tattle pulls out a hanky and dabs at her eyes.
"Linda has created her own romantic mystery genre with this story. It has just the right mixture of romantic tension, mystery, and humor. Everything in life was ignored until I read the last page, and then I was off looking for more books by the author."
"Her style is fast paced and clean. It is a book to be enjoyed and savored. Would love to see more like this."
"Thumbs up, Linda! Keep them coming."