Book Blitz: Under the Willows by Pamela McCord

Book & Author Details:
Under the Willows
by Pamela McCord
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: May 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Mystery
Synopsis:

After her husband is killed by a drunk driver, Kelly Harris and her son TJ move into a sprawling Victorian house in Ohio that her husband inherited from his grandmother. Dealing with her overwhelming grief is a struggle as she adjusts to life in a small town. And, just as she’s beginning to feel more comfortable, life takes another unexpected turn.

The Alexa unit in her son’s bedroom starts to cry, and a little girl’s voice comes out of it asking for help.

At first Kelly is unnerved by the presence of the voice. After ruling out all the other likely possibilities, she begins to put the pieces together, and suspects the girl is a ghost. Unwilling to be uprooted from another home, she decides to find out what the child wants. Maybe she can help.

Kelly isn’t the only one interested in the voice. Detective Rob Porter is investigating the disappearance of a child named Marilee. As the two cross paths, Porter is taken aback when Kelly’s ghost mentions Marilee’s name. In fact, the ghost says “Marilee’s with me.”

Whether that means the child is a ghost as well is a question Rob and Kelly hope to answer.

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“Dot was crying last night,” TJ said through a yawn.

“Dot? Who’s Dot?”

“You know. Dot. Alexa’s Dot.”

I stared at the back of his head, frowning, as I dished up his breakfast.

“Alexa can’t cry. It’s a cylindrical inanimate object. Are you sure you didn’t imagine it?”

“Mom. I’m eight. It really did happen.” He looked at me with a scowl. “I don’t imagine things.”

A frightened “Mom” roused me from a fitful sleep. I swung my legs off the bed, the hardwood cool against my feet. “I’m coming,” I called as I rushed to TJ’s room. I found him sitting up in bed, his eyes big and worried.

“What is it, sweetie?” I asked as I sat beside him. “Did you have a bad dream?”

“Mom, Alexa was crying again.”

“What do you mean?” I tipped his face up and looked him in the eyes. “Alexa can’t cry. She’s not a real person. Tell me what happened.”

“I was asleep and I heard a little girl crying. There wasn’t anybody in my room but I could still hear it.”

“Maybe you were dreaming.”

He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at me. “I wasn’t dreaming, Mom.”

“Okay, then. Maybe it just sounded like crying.”

“There were words, too.”

“Words?”

He nodded. “I said, ‘is anybody there’ and the crying stopped. Then Alexa said Help us.” His serious eyes dared me to not believe him.

Turbulent emotions kept me awake. At 2:30, I gave up trying to sleep and padded downstairs to make myself a cup of tea. I sat in the dark kitchen, moonlight streaming in the window over the sink my only companion. I sipped and contemplated. Eventually the warm comfort of the tea calmed my shaky nerves and I headed back upstairs. I poked my head in TJ’s door, tiptoed in and sat at the foot of his bed watching him sleep.

A chill came out of nowhere. I glanced at his window, but it was closed and locked. I bent over him and pulled the covers up around his shoulders. That’s when I heard sobs that seemed to echo around the room. I whirled my head around but no one was there. I started for the door, but it slammed shut as I approached. A small cry escaped me and my hand flew to my mouth. My hair lifted around my face as if a wind swirled through the room, and I froze. And, then, something impossible to believe happened. Alexa said Help us and a child’s eerie crying filled the room.

“What the hell?” I turned the doorknob and pulled, but the door wouldn’t open.

“Mom?” TJ sat up in bed. I could see his wide, startled eyes in the light from his nightlight, and rushed to his side.

“We have to get out of here,” I whispered, a tinge of urgency coloring my voice as I helped him out of bed.

Please, the disembodied voice said. Help us.

The door banged open. Grabbing TJ’s hand, I pulled him out of the room. We flew down the stairs and huddled in the living room.

AUTHOR BIO:

Born in Arkansas and raised in Southern California, Pamela McCord started writing later in life when she was challenged by a friend to create a book out of his story idea. Since then, she’s become an internationally published author. Pam has spent over 40 years working as a legal secretary at a law firm in Orange County, California. Aside from writing, she follows the stock market, buying, selling and trading stocks and options. In contrast to that, she loves trips to Las Vegas where she can spend many happy hours at the Pai Gow tables. She shares a condo with her very own My Cat From Hell TV star, Allie, who manages to exude just enough affection to make her scary feral ways tolerable.

Author links:

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Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

What happens when you walk into a book fair, find books that you’d once read and then discover more books by those same authors? You’re right! You cannot help but be hit with a strong sense of nostalgia!

And once it kicks in, there’s no stopping the onslaught of memories.

It was this same feeling that prompted me to pick up this book by Jonathan Stroud. After all, my mind reasoned, it will be worthwhile coming from the author of the famous Bartimaeus series.

About the Book:

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

My Thoughts:

A truly wonderful book and concept, this book will ensure that you are hooked from the first page. The story is divided into parts, jumping into the middle of the plot in the beginning itself, then looping back in time to give us some background and perspective, and then charging right on. The best part? All these seemingly unconnected situations all come together in the end and wrap the plot up neatly.

The characters are brilliant, smart, funny, naughty but with a depth that will surprise the reader. There is more to them than meets the eye and it becomes rather clear as we read. Anthony Lockwood proves to be something of an enigma, not only to Lucy but to the reader as well. He is charming for a youngster, conducts himself as well as the elders and still manages to hide some things from everyone. Lucy is likeable and strong, with a talent that far surpasses both the boys. Together the trio set out to make London a safer place, protecting people from ghosts. The climax and the sequences leading up to it are intense and perhaps the best part of the entire book, but what stands out is how every seemingly random situation has a connection in the end. Everything is vital to the plot and it helps to pay attention to even the smallest of details.

It felt really great to immerse myself in this story. The author, with his wonderful storytelling ability, vividly describes each situation and haunting. Every case that the trio take up, we are given a chance to imagine what is happening, sometimes we can even see it playing in our mind. This just points to the wonderful way the author has with words. The characters are well developed and the basis of the plot along with the back story of how the various agencies came into existence makes this book all the more interesting. The ending leaves us with just enough information to want to continue the series.

Overall, not just for the sake of nostalgia, but for the beauty of the story, I strongly urge all my fellow fans of fantasy, ghosts and mystery to read this book!