REVIEW: A Babe in Ghostland by Lisa Cach
Dear Ms Cach,
I’ve been following your writing career for years now and one thing’s for certain, you don’t just write the same old same old. Even when you revisit certain themes, such as ghosts, you handle the issue in a new and different ways. This time at bat we have a contemporary story, set in Seattle, featuring a hero and heroine battling spirits in his old, derelict mansion.
Case Lambert is obviously ill at ease when he enters Megan Barrows’ antique store. After wandering around a little, he finally gets down to business and starts to ask Megan some odd questions, almost as if he’s testing her. Megan goes along with him until he finally mentions the real reason for his visit. A former, a very former, acquaintance of Megan is now working with Case to try to discover what’s going on in the huge, Victorian house he’s just bought to renovate. Eric told Case that Megan might be able to help figure out who’s been moving things, making noises, fooling with the electricity, crawling into bed with him among other things. At first Case’s skeptical attitude plus the mention of Eric makes Megan say hell no but he and a friend of hers finally talk her into a one time, one time mind you, trip there to see what she can discover.
Well, as far as Megan’s concerned, one trip to this spirit infested, gloomy house which feels like it’s trying to trap her spirit inside the tall iron gates surrounding the entire block sized grounds, is half a trip too many. Yes, she tells Case, you’ve got spirits now get Eric and his wiz-bang paranormal investigation devices to deal with it. She’s had enough. Or at least she thought she had until Case agrees to her bet: if she can prove there are ghosts and if she is instrumental in getting rid of them, he’ll let her pick 20 pieces of antique furniture from the house to sell in her shop. If she can’t, then she’ll owe Case the time and labor it will take to restore all the furniture in the house. Oh, and Case wants her to move in so that she can be on hand at any time to deal with the spirits while this is going on. Deal.
Case finds that Megan is growing on him and soon he’s as worried as she is about the ghost-hunting stuff that Eric has rigged up. Megan’s convinced it caused harm to her before reluctantly agrees to his guarantees that he’s fixed it all. What she starts to experience and, along with the others, uncover at the house puzzles then intrigues then terrifies her. There are some very determined ghosts in the house and they’re not planning on taking no for an answer.
I like that Megan doesn’t come across as a flake. She treats her talents very matter of factly, doesn’t try to play things up, looks for the obvious reasons things could appear haunted but is very sure of what paranormal stuff she does see. Case comes across as a “guy.” He’s constantly wondering if he might get lucky with Megan, the whole situation with the “ghosts” annoys him but when weird stuff really does start to happen, he sure as hell doesn’t want to admit that he almost passed out from the experience. Eric comes off as slightly bizarre but then he does get what’s coming to him in the end. I like that the romance between Case and Megan goes as slowly as it can for the short time period of the book and that the epilogue shows they wait a while before marriage.
I wasn’t too thrilled with the little subplot intended to push them temporarily apart. It felt tacked on and out of place. I’ve swung back and forth about the ghosts’ story. At first it felt too melodramatic but on second thought, it takes on gothic tones appropriate to the late Victorian era.
While this one won’t take a place beside my other favorites of yours, it’s very readable, the woo-woo stuff seems well thought out and I enjoyed the hero and heroine’s relationship. B for this one.