Friday, April 7, 2017

*Review + Guest Post* Occult and Battery by Lena Gregory

Occult and Battery by Lena Gregory

Cozy Mystery 2nd in Series 
Berkley (April 4, 2017)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages 
ISBN-13: 978-0425282762

A murder mystery weekend becomes a little too real in the latest Bay Island Psychic Mystery from the author of Death at First Sight

Cass Donovan uses her skills as a former psychiatrist to get away with pretending to be psychic, but she's not about to let anyone get away with murder...
The outlook is not so good for Cass's psychic shop, Mystical Musings.  With winter winds discouraging tourists from riding the ferry from Long Island to Bay Island, Cass hopes to draw in more customers by hosting a murder mystery weekend, complete with a séance, in a supposedly haunted mansion. 
But Cass begins to lose her spirit when her ex-husband shows up, along with his fiancee-- Cass's ex best friend.  Then, after one of the guests is found dead, a blizzard blows in, trapping everyone inside with a murderer.  Now Cass must divine who did the deed before her reputation and her livelihood fade away.  

My Review:
3 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed the paranormal aspects of this book and I liked the idea behind the Mystical Musings shop.  Cassie and her friends are really likable characters.  I also really enjoyed the dog Beast and all the things he got into.  He reminds me of my own dog, Killian.  The mystery was well written and the killer threw me for a loop.  The only reason this didn't get a higher star rating is because while I liked the story, I just couldn't seem to invest myself in it.  

Guest Post: 
Brushes With the Paranormal
Lena Gregory

Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal? And encounter you couldn’t quite explain away, no matter how hard you tried to convince yourself there was a logical explanation? I’ve had several over the years, but I’ll only share a couple.
I have three kids, and not one of them slept through the night, so I can only assume it’s something I did wrong. Of course, neither my husband nor I sleep through the night either, so I guess it’s no surprise.
Anyway, one night, when my middle guy, Nicky, was around a year and a half old, he just would not go to sleep. I was so exhausted I couldn’t keep my eyes open another minute, and I was afraid to bring him in my bed for fear he’d fall down the stairs if he got up and wandered, which he did even then, so I crawled into the crib with him and closed my eyes.
The next think I knew, someone was shaking my shoulder. Startled, I opened my eyes and looked up, fully expecting to find my husband standing over me wondering what in the world was going on, but there was no one there. I was absolutely positive a hand had gripped my shoulder and shaken me, so I sat up and looked around the room, figuring either my husband or my ten-year-old daughter had tried to wake me then walked away when I didn’t respond.
When I looked down, I didn’t see Nicky. Terrified, I jumped up and found him tangled in the blanket. I quickly unwrapped the blanket from his head. His face was beet red, and he was breathing hard but, thankfully, he was okay. It might have ended much differently if something hadn’t nudged me awake that morning. When I finally calmed down enough to get up, my husband and daughter were both still asleep and hadn’t been up to wake me.
To this day, sixteen years later, I still get chills and hug my son whenever that memory surfaces.
On a lighter note, I used to teach dance for a living, until Nicky was about three. I’d always brought my kids to the studio with me while I was teaching, but he couldn’t handle the noise. The kids talking and laughing, the music blasting, tap shoes hitting the wood floor, all proved to be too much for him. He would always want to be in my arms with his hands over his ears.
Within the year, he was diagnosed on the autistic spectrum. He needed physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech, so I gave up teaching and started cleaning houses to give me the flexibility necessary to bring him to therapy five days a week.
One of the houses I took was a beautiful, old house on the bay. The view was gorgeous, as was the house, which was built in the 1800s. One of the first times I went in to clean, I put the garbage pail back in the bathroom beside the shower. Then I realized there was an old stain beneath the pipe under the sink where the pail had been. I figured it must leak sometimes and put the pail back under it. When I returned a few minutes later, the pail was beside the shower again.
That freaked me out a little, but I figured maybe I’d left the floor a little wet and it slid over a couple of feet, or maybe I’d meant to put it under the pipe but then forgot to actually do it. So, I made sure the floor was dry and put it back. The next time I looked in the bathroom, it was back beside the shower. Needless to say, that’s where it stayed that time.
Every time I returned to the house after that day, I put the pail under the pipe and it stayed where it was.
Then, one day, I was in the basement doing laundry when there was a weird sort of scratchy, tapping sound. It was coming from the ceiling rafters in the basement beneath the foyer. It definitely freaked me out, but I finally decided it must be mice or something, and I filed the incident away to use in a book somewhere down the line—which I haven’t yet but still intend to.
When the homeowner asked how everything was going and if I was finding everything okay, I told her everything was fine, but I thought the house was haunted, and I sort of laughed.
She laughed too and asked me what had happened.
I told her about the garbage pail, but not the tapping, since I’d already explained that to myself.
She then told me the house definitely was haunted, and what was now the foyer was originally a bedroom, and someone died in there. She also said they often here a strange knocking sound in the foyer.
The existence of the unexplainable has always fascinated me. Is there truly a world beyond our own that sometimes overlaps with ours? Or are we just creatures with extremely vivid imaginations?
Cass Donovan, from Death at First Sight and Occult and Battery, makes a living delving into that world, “contacting” the dead. At least, that’s what her customers think. She thinks she’s just very intuitive. What do you think?

Have you ever had a brush with the paranormal? Leave a comment and let me know!


     "Stop the car!" 

     Bee Maxwell slammed on the brakes, skidding to a stop on the sand-covered shoulder.  Without loosening his white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel, he turned a glare on Cass.  "Are you crazy?  What's the matter?"  
Cass released her hold on the dashboard and shot him a grin. "We're here."

     A hand the size of a baseball mitt fluttered to Bee's chest, with all the drama of a true diva.  "You nearly gave me a heart attack because we've arrived at our secret destination?"  Gritting his teeth, he shifted gently into park.  No way would he jam the shifter into gear, even though she could tell he badly wanted to.  The black Trans Am was his baby, always to be treated tenderly.  Cass, on the other hand, was a different story.  Bee looked about ready to throttle her.  "Wouldn't it have been easier to just tell me where we were going?" 

     Stephanie Lawrence poked her head between the seats to stare at Cass.  "Not that I want to agree with Bee, but really, Cass, you could have just told him where to go.  Then maybe this maniac wouldn't have nearly put us through the windshield." 

     She shrugged.  "I didn't think he'd agree to take me if I told him where we were going." 

     Bee waved a hand in dismissal and glanced out the window, as if realizing for the first time where they were. 

     The old, supposedly haunted Madison Estate perched in the center of the highest ground on the island, amid dried-up beach grass, trees long since devoid of leaves, and garbage from whatever kids were brave--or stupid--enough to ignore their parents' warnings.  Thick, grey clouds gathered overhead, lending credence to the haunted stories Cass had heard since childhood.  

     A dainty shiver ran through Bee's bulky frame.  "Well, if your destination has anything to do with that house, you can just count me out." 

     "But it's perfect."  She opened the car door and shot him a quick grin over her shoulder.  

     "Hey.  Where are you going?" 

     Ignoring Bee's protests, Cass climbed from the car.  She closed the door behind her, effectively cutting off any further arguments.  Bee happened to be deathly afraid of ghosts.  Not that he believed in them.

About The Author

Displaying lena-gregory-portrait.jpg
Lena lives in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island with her husband and three children.
When she was growing up, she spent many lazy afternoons on the beach, in the yard, anywhere she could find to curl up with a good book. She loves reading as much now as she did then, but she now enjoys the added pleasure of creating her own stories.

Author Links:
Purchase Links
Penguin/ Random House

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