#Bookreview – The Guardian, Mended Souls One, by Jacquie Biggar

The Guardian: Mended Souls- Book 1 by [Biggar, Jacquie]

What Amazon says

Two lost souls stop must stop a madman with the help of a sarcastic angel

Lucas Carmichael and Scott Anderson had it all, money, fame, and fortune. But one night’s stupid mistake takes everything they thought they cherished and dumps it upside down.
A car accident ends Lucas’ life and leaves Scott injured and bitter.
As the local ME, Tracy York, investigates the case, discrepancies begin to point to more than a simple drunk driving incident.
When threats are made to Tracy’s life can Scott and his guardian angel, Lucas, protect her, or will she become another casualty of a ruthless killer?

Related subjects include: women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), amateur sleuth books, book club recommendations, humorous murder mysteries, paranormal romances.

My review

I listened to the audio book of The Guardian: Mended Souls One. The reader, Daniel F. Purcell, has a pleasant voice and I enjoyed his reading of this story.

Tracy York, a medical examiner, is assigned to investigate the circumstances surrounding a horrific car accident in which three people have been killed.

The driver of one of the vehicles is a well-know celebrity, Lucas Carmichael, who has been enjoying a night out on the town with his best friend and fellow celebrity, Scott Anderson, and Scott’s younger sister, Natalya, when the accident occurs and he is killed. Natalya is also killed in the accident and Scott is admitted to hospital as a result of his injuries.

The driver of the other car is a family man whose expectant wife and two young sons are travelling with him in the car. The father is killed in the accident and the mother looses her baby as a result of her injuries.

Tracy meets up with Scott in the car park of the medical centre when Scott responds to Tracy’s cries for help upon finding an injured dog near her car. Scott has come to the medical centre to say his final goodbyes to his best friend and brother.

There is an immediate attraction between Tracy and Scott but Tracy is distrustful of Scott’s motives due to his celebrity status. The pair are drawn closer together as strange things start to happen that indicate that someone is stalking Tracy with a view to murder. When Tracy finds some unusual results in Lucas Carmichael’s blood results taken after the accident she is even more suspicious of Scott and his motivations for paying her attention.

There is a supernatural element to this novel with the deceased drivers of the two cars being flung together in Heaven’s waiting room. Both have unfinished business which they need to complete before being admitted into Heaven.

This is an interesting read with a good, strong ending. I enjoyed the romance between Scott and Tracy which nicely supplemented the main plot of the book and was a pleasant addition to my reading experience.

Tracy and Scott are both interesting characters with flaws that make them more believable and engaging.

I rated this book five out of five stars on Amazon.

Purchase The Guardian: Mended Souls One

Advertisements

#Writephoto – Untrodden, a haibun

Sally had chosen to walk a path previously untrodden by the women of her family.  It wasn’t that they weren’t interested in academia but rather that the opportunities for further study never presented themselves.

Sally was following in her father’s footsteps. She planned to become a chartered accountant which required four years of full time studies and three years of apprenticeship coupled with further academic studies to pass the board exams. Her father had practiced his profession until the day he died when Sally was a small child of three years old. His unfortunate death meant that Sally had the acumen and ability to study accounting but she didn’t have the financial resources to do it. She had resolved this dilemma by obtaining a scholarship from a local university.

Her grandfather had not believed in educating girls. Her mother had passed the entrance examinations for the the local grammar school but her father would not buy the uniform for her. He thought it was a waste of his money to educate Marion further.

Her Aunt Lily had entered into service in a large house close to her family home. One day she had popped in for a short visit which had ended badly. Lily had painted her nails red in accordance with the fashion of the day. Her father had gone mad when he had seen them, ordering her to “remove that beetle’s blood from her fingers right this minute.”

Sally came from a conservative background but times had changed. She had grown up in South Africa and had obtained an excellent education at the local high school. She was looking forward to walking this new path and would hold her head high on behalf of all the women in her family, past, present and future.

Make your own success

leave no pathway untrodden

Opportunity

will knock only once in life

be sure to answer the door

This haibun was written for Sue Vincent’s photo challenge Untrodden. You can participate here: https://scvincent.com/2018/11/29/thursday-photo-prompt-untrodden-writephoto/

#Flashfiction – Into the Dark

IMG_1752

Darkness comes

She gazed into the dark depths of the water.

Why had he done it?

Christmas could be a time of great loneliness for people living alone. The good cheer and smiles of families around them resulting in deep despair.

She had received a call from a friend informing her of the death the previous evening. The body had been in the water for a few days making identification difficult.

Water was destructive.

She signed, recalling the message she had received from him a short while before.

Was it a cry for help? Maybe, but it was too late now.

This 99-word flash fiction was written for Charli Mills’ weekly Flash Fiction Challenge.

November 29, 2018, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story using the phrase “into the dark.” What must a character face? Write about an encounter, journey, relationship, or quest. Follow the ship’s lights on gloomy seas. Go where the prompt leads you.

You can join in the challenge here: https://carrotranch.com/2018/11/29/november-29-flash-fiction-challenge/

#Bookreview – Father’s Dead Where’s Mother

What Amazon says

A murder mystery adventure where Silvina & her journalist friend Harry follow clues to the vineyards of Bordeaux. The city has a dark secret connecting it to the slave trade between Africa and Haiti. Step back in history to the 1700s to witness life on the island: SLAVERY, VOODOO & the first black republic. In 2011 the couple continue their search in Haiti for Silvina’s lost mother. They travel to the interior high country where the Taino Indians once lived. Here the homes hang dangerously to the sides of the cliff. Is the lost mother still alive? they find her?

My review

Father’s Dead Where’s Mother is the story of a young nurse living in the United Kingdom who returns home one day to discover her father is dead and her mother has disappeared with no explanation. Her father’s death is unnatural and disturbing and Silvina is determined to discover who killed him and what has happened to her mother.

Silvina meets Harry through one on the policeman on the case and he agrees to assist her in looking for her mother. Their quest takes them to Bordeaux in France, where her parents met and where her mother was raised by an adoptive mother. Soon after their return to England, Silvina and Harry set off to Haiti to see if they can discover more about her mother’s disappearance.

I found this book taxing to read as it seemed disjointed to me and some of the attitudes and circumstances featured in the book never seem to really come together. The relationship between Harry and Silvina is never fully explained so the reader doesn’t know if they are romantically involved or not. Silvina’s mother’s seeming indifference to her husband’s horrific murder, merely because she felt neglected as he had a hobby investigating his family tree, did not seem very reasonable. It also seemed strange that she would just walk away from her home, children and grandchildren to go an live in earthquake damaged Haiti. The historical elements about Haiti during the time of the slave uprisings against the colonists were interesting and engaging but it didn’t seem to contribute to the overall story in a clear and concise manner.

I rated this book three out of five stars on Amazon.

Purchase Father’s Dead Where’s Mother

 

#Writephoto – Hidden

Why did I not see it. Surely there must have been signs. A look in his eyes? the thoughts went around and around in Sandra’s confused and conflicted mind.

The nurse came into the room. She had an air of control and competence about her that Sandra envied. The room was white and austere as all hospital rooms are. There were no flowers to brighten the bleakness, no chocolates and trays of dried fruit on the bedside table. Sandra had pushed all her friends and family away a long time ago.

I didn’t want them to know. Couldn’t bear for them to suspect that everything was not as it should be. What a fool I was.

Sandra lay quietly while the nurse took her blood pressure and checked the IV drip attached to her wrist. She reflected on her marriage.

He had hidden his violent and possessive nature so well. While they were courting he had been the perfect gentleman. Opening her car door for her, bringing her gifts of long stemmed red roses and sending her poetry. She had been totally bowled over and had easily fallen for his charm and good looks.

Once they were married and he had her in his power, he had set out to break her spirit. He broke her body in the process and ensured that she was completely alienated from everyone in her life who gave a damn about her.

Why did I allow this to happen? How could I have just succumbed to his fists and his temper the way I did? Why didn’t I leave?

He had gone to far this time and she had collapsed at work. She didn’t remember anything after she blacked out until she had woken up in this grim hospital bed.

The doctor had been very kind to her as he explained that she had miscarried her baby. The violent and relentless blows to her stomach, thighs and arms had caused the miscarriage and had also caused significant internal bleeding. She was lucky to be alive.

I am lucky to be alive, he said. I wish I was dead. I have lost everything now. There is nothing left.

Sandra drew in a great, hitching breath and let it out slowly.

It had all come out. The years of abuse. She didn’t have to hide it anymore or wear long sleeved shirts and full length pants to cover up her bruises. It was over. Everybody knew. Her humiliation was complete.

She heard the door open and looked up. There stood Mom and Dad, after all these years, here they were.

Tears slipped down her cheeks as she looked at them.

Maybe it wasn’t all over. Maybe there was still hope.

Written for Sue Vincent’s weekly photograph challenge. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2018/11/22/thursday-photo-prompt-hidden-writephoto/

 

 

#Writephoto – Shadows

“Bloody mosquito” she grumbled when she saw the small raised red bite on her son’s chin bone.

“I want to swim, Mom,” Jack whined as she anointed the bump with an antibiotic cream and covered it with a plaster.

“You can swim, Jack. I am just covering up your mozzie bite so it doesn’t get infected. The sea near the harbour is not as clean as it could be.”

***

Two days later the family set off on the seven hour drive back home.

Lilly was worried about her son’s bite. It had come up in a huge red lump. Their holiday home was a bit off the beaten track and the one local doctor had not been available the day before. Apparently people who lived in St Lucia didn’t get sick on a Sunday. She had taken Jack to the pharmacy to see if anyone there could help. The pharmacist had suggested that the bite could be a spider bite. He suggested she lance it and had given her a tiny blade to use for this purpose.

Lilly had tried to open the bite and squeeze out the pus but Jack had screamed. She hadn’t managed to get much out compared to the size of the hump on his leg. She had smeared the bite with antibiotic cream and covered it with a gauze bandage.

By the morning, Jack had developed a fever and was sweaty and nauseous. Lilly wanted to take him to the emergency room at the local hospital.

“Don’t worry,” Grant said, giving her arm a gentle squeeze. “We’re going home and you can take him to his pediatrician.”

***

Jack’s condition worsened during the 7 hour drive and Lilly insisted that Grant take them straight to the hospital where his pediatrician worked.

Most fortunately, Dr James was doing her hospital rounds when they arrived and she was able to see Jack straight away.

“Blood poisoning,” she gave the verdict after hearing Grant and Lilly’s stories and inspecting the inflamed and angry bite.

“I don’t understand why the bite became infected,” Lilly said. “Jack was swimming in the sea. I thought salt water sanitized wounds.”

“Not any more,” Dr James said. “The sea is full of bacteria’s that can cause this sort of infection nowadays. I don’t recommend swimming in the sea at all.”

Dr James lanced the bite and squeezed out a fat, sausage of green pus. It was as thick as toothpaste squeezed from the tube and it made Lilly feel sick. Jack had screamed the house down and scared all the other children and their parents in the pediatric ward.

“I am going to insert a drip for the intravenous antibiotics and pain killers,” said Dr James. “Don’t worry, Mrs Watson,” she smiled reassuringly at the anxious expression on Lilly’s face. “Jack will be fine in a few days time. This antibiotic is strong and very effective.”

Lilly felt relief sweep through her body. It looked as though Jack’s illness would not throw long shadows over their lives. She said a silent prayer of thanks for modern medicine.

This piece was written for Sue Vincent’s weekly photograph prompt – Shadows. You can join in here: https://scvincent.com/2018/11/15/thursday-photo-prompt-shadows-writephoto/