Putting this up now simply because it is a longer read than the last couple of books scheduled, but not super-long. The fact that the author, Carol J Perry, hails from Salem gives Caught Dead Handed an authenticity that we have noticed was missing in a couple other of the books we’ve read. In addition a cat gets a prominent role and not just a walk on part. As the protagonist’s familiar, he does his part to help her solve the mystery. This story is said to give the reader a taste of the real Salem and real witches, and the good, the bad, the fake and the real are each portrayed, putting the theme in great perspective. Why didn’t I schedule this one in October? Because witches exist on days other than All Hallows Eve; however, take heart, the story is set around that day.
An overview of our selection:
Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it's home. This October she's returned to her hometown--where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives--to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming. Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it's starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch--especially when O'Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer--or her career as a psychic may be very short lived.
Lee Barrett, takes the name Crystal Moon for her Nightshades show identity. She is purported to be a refreshing cozy sleuth: adult rather than bubbly. Our protagonist is a reasonable, level-headed, intelligent woman who was raised by her aunt after her parents died, and is recovering from grieving the death of her popular NASCAR husband. Detective Mondello is the standard potential romantic interest. Aunt Ibby doesn't like anything remotely psychic. Rhonda is the News Station receptionist. For the most part the characters are all well done.
Salem with Halloween approaching… it gives Salem a delicious mix of historic and dark undercurrents.
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19083257-caught-dead-handed Paperback: 416 pages
Published: Kensington (2014)
About the author:
Carol J. Perry knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer. A voracious reader, whose list for Santa consisted mostly of book titles, she never lost sight of that goal. While living in Florida, Carol was on assignment for Southern Travel Magazine, preparing an article on the world’s largest sand castle, which was being built near her home. That combination of events inspired her first young adult novel, Sand Castle Summer. That book was soon followed by half a dozen more.
Carol has always been an avid reader of mysteries. Her debut mystery novel is set in Salem and involves O’Ryan, a most mysterious cat, several witches and some strange Halloween happenings. Appropriately enough, this Salem-born author celebrates her birthday on Halloween Eve! Carol and her husband Dan live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida with two cats and a Black Lab.