Friday, October 28, 2016

Ken McGorry - Ghost Hampton: A Novel

20. Ghost Hampton: A Novel by Ken McGorry (2016)
The Ghost Hampton Series Book 1
Length: 456 pages
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Started: 5 October 2016
Finished: 28 October 2016
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Dorothy at Pump up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 28 September 2016
Why do I have it? I like paranormal mysteries and Ken McGorry is a new author for me.

Living in the town of Southampton, New York, Lyle Hall had acquired a reputation for being a notoriously tough real estate lawyer. It was a reputation that was certainly well-deserved, as he was known to be a difficult person to deal with - both in and out of the courtroom. He was definitely not the type of person who has ever allowed feelings of sentimentality to get in the way of him doing whatever was in his client's best interest. And if it just so happened that Lyle Hall's own best interests were also met during his career, then so much the better.

However, ever since his catastrophic car accident a year ago, Lyle has undergone a Scrooge-like transformation. The accident was indeed life-changing; it took the life of an elderly woman, and has left Lyle paralyzed from the waist down. After having a near-death experience himself and spending two months in a coma, Lyle Hall has awakened to find that he developed a strange and disturbing new 'talent': he has somehow become empathetic to other people's pain. This recent development in his personality is disturbing for Lyle, because while he certainly understands why the residents of Southampton are grieving, angry, and even hostile towards him; he is nevertheless powerless to make them understand that their assumptions about the accident are completely wrong.

Late one October night - while being driven back home - Lyle passes by a dilapidated Victorian mansion that has recently been slated for demolition. Known around town as "Old Vic" - the ramshackle house has apparently had quite a colorful history as a former brothel. Lyle cannot honestly describe how he feels just driving by Old Vic - but he intrinsically understands that if he mentions the disembodied pleas for help that he hears - nobody will believe him. Returning alone to the property two days later, Lyle sees an apparition standing on the porch of the house.

The vision of the mysterious young woman identifies herself as Jewel, and she looks to be about twelve years old. But she's been dead for at least a century. Jewel has been chosen to make a desperate appeal to Lyle for his help. In return, she shows him an appalling vision - his only daughter Georgia's epitaph - which, if it is to be believed, means that she will die in four days!

Whether or not Jewel is using this terrifying vision in order to force Lyle's assistance - he has no idea - yet the nightmarish vision serves as the catalyst that shocks Lyle out of his complacent convalescence and back into the real world. However, Lyle's court injunction to save the crumbling Old Vic backfires on him. When Lyle's former courthouse nemesis - a newspaper columnist with a hidden agenda - publishes a sensational story designed to embarrass Lyle, the resulting rumors of a possibly haunted house brings with it a flurry of national media attention. Soon a horde of paranormal-obsessed demonstrators - paranormal investigators and ghost-hunting paranormal enthusiasts alike - descend on the town of Southampton.

Rapidly swept up in the national media frenzy, Lyle finds himself trapped between the proverbial rock and a hard place when he meets the extraordinary Miranda Silkwood. Silk, as she is known to her fans, is a gorgeous yet highly devious television reporter. While his new nemesis may only be scheming to make her big break into the legitimate news business - biding her time working with an online media conglomerate dedicated to all things paranormal - Lyle nevertheless finds himself being seduced by Silk's offer of an exclusive media contract. Faced with an impossible situation - to either sit down with Miranda Silkwood for an exclusive interview; or continuing to try and protect his Georgie's wellbeing without her knowledge - Lyle initially stumbles badly.

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I appreciated just how much Lyle Hall may have changed personally because of his accident, but also understood that he faced an extraordinary dilemma: proving to his neighbors that he is now an entirely different person. I would certainly say that this story is a lot like A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - however, Ghost Hampton: A Novel focuses more on what happens after Lyle Hall undergoes his Scrooge-like transformation. I would certainly give this book an A! and am curious to see how this story will develop in future books.

A! - (90-95%)

May you read well and often

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