Welcome to Ghostal Shores Resort. Inside you will find luxury accommodations, a first class spa, plenty of shopping, a 5-star restaurant, a fully stocked bar, and don’t forget our main attraction, the ghosts. Please leave your disbelief at the door as our ghostly staff satisfies your every need. Our ghosts come from many various wild west locales and include: gamblers, bartenders, shopkeepers, butlers, and ladies of the night. Please take the time to get to know our ghosts, we guarantee a stay you’ll never forget!
Adventurer, photographer and security specialist, Blaise “Blasing” Madera has just discovered he is half-owner in the ghostly resort. His uncle Peter Maguire has been murdered at the resort and left his share to Blasing. His killer is still on the loose. Mac had been half owner with Sean Heller, an angry, bitter man, who is the money behind the venture. The resort is in trouble under his leadership. The ghosts are mourning Mac, who was a genuine friend to them. Heller has never accepted the ghosts, and only tolerates their presence because they are the main attraction for customers. Blasing hopes with his half of the resort he can provide a stable life for his 2 children.
Angela Starbourne, lawyer to Mac, and frequent visitor to the resort, has just had the unexpected and unpleasant task of informing Blasing that his uncle has been murdered. No one else in her firm will deal with the resort and the ghosts. Because of Native American heritage, Angela is more comfortable with the spiritual side of the resort. Angela had drawn up the will naming Blasing the heir at Mac’s request. No-so-coincidentally, the will is now missing.
Angela must take Blasing to the resort to claim his inheritance. He has never visited the resort before and is extremely skeptical about the reality of the ghosts. That is, until they are almost run off the road by a stagecoach and some out of control horses. Angela, who is very familiar with all the ghostly residents of the resort does not recognize any of those in the stagecoach. A sinister feeling is now present at the resort that was not there when Mac was alive.
Angela and Blasing have no idea of what they are about to walk into. The rest of this long book reads as a cross between an Agatha Christie novel and Romancing the Stone, without the jungle (or sexual tension). While the mystery was well done, the romance was lacked spark. The good news is that Angela and Blasing work together throughout the book to solve the mystery, instead of against each other.
Both are believable characters. Blasing’s disbelief and slow acceptance of the ghosts is written realistically. Unfortunately for his peace of mind, he also discovers he has some unknown psychic abilities. Blasing is also very conscious of the fact that he has two children to support and must make decisions according to their needs. The children are not main characters in the story, but his motives are all directly related to them.
Angela is more in touch with the spiritual side of the resort. She has learned to consider the ghosts as people, and considers them friends. She is a strong woman and her Native beliefs are integral to the story. I liked her character aspects, except for one – she had annoying problem with jealousy. This reasonable woman would suddenly turn almost catty when another woman talked with Blasing. This was much out of tune with character and was quite bothersome.
The writing was imaginative and descriptive and the progressive tension in the story as the mystery unfolds drew this reviewer in immediately. Sadly, there was very little tension between Angela and Blasing. There is plenty of action, and some death, but very little blood and gore. A large array of interesting secondary characters provide a nice backdrop. However, because there were so many of them, they bogged the story down at times. The buildup of tension also lost it’s potential about 50 pages before the book ended. Train wrecks, stampedes, bar room brawls, lost electricity, more stampedes, more trains, more brawls – enough, already!
After weighing the pros and cons, this is an average read. However, I found the story enjoyable and would recommend it if you are looking for something different in the mystery department, with a dash of romance thrown in.
|Review Date:||April 7, 1999|