Tuesday, July 2, 2013

John A. Karr - Ghostly Summons - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

Lars Kelsen doesn’t believe in psychic phenomenon. To him, visions of murder victims are a form of mental illness. Once they begin, options are limited; he can try to ignore them or deal with them by exposing a killer. Only the latter provides any semblance of peace. Temporarily, anyway. Five years into his new life as a programmer, Kelsen—ex-crime beat reporter with a penance he can never fully satisfy—sees a victim.

In person. Upright. Staring.

Typical of such past "Visits" as he calls them, he doesn’t welcome this one. The nude form of a beautiful millionairess in his cubicle means murder has come to the vacation haven known as North Carolina’s Outer Banks. It means he’ll have to go places he'd rather avoid. See things he'll wish he hadn’t. Do things that don't come naturally, like in-your-face confrontation and bending the law. Actually, breaking the law ... but with good intent. It also means dealing with one very attractive county coroner, who pushes his buttons in a not entirely unwelcome way.

So begins Kelsen's return to investigative reporting—complete with attempts on his life, fights, deception, and all the technological tricks, such as GPS and computer hacking, at his disposal. And maybe even finding a new love interest.

My Review

The plot of this paranormal mystery ebbs and flows much like the tide going in and out of its coastal setting. There are moments that are realistic and down to earth that meander a bit more slowly - chit-chatting with a co-worker at a desk job, going for coffee at a nearby cafe, taking the dog for a walk. They work well to depict the locale and provide some much needed background information on the characters and the case. They calmly set the table for the explosive action sequences that follow. You can't have those BANG moments without the build-up. They steadily ratchet the narrative up before the reader even realizes what's happening. Bravo!

There are many red herrings in this whodunit tale. The philandering jealous husband. The young lifeguard lover. The veteran pilot for hire. I have to admit my suspicions kept changing as I continued to read through the story, and before the big reveal I had no clue who killed Jeanette Broughton. When I found out who was responsible, it left me scratching my head a bit. It came out of left field and really didn't mesh with the rest of the story. I was into the novel all the way through but the culprit's identity could have been tied into more of the narrative structure as a whole. I like mysteries to trick me and while this one did, finding out who was responsible left me a tad disconnected.

Karr is great at fashioning an intricate web of suspense that's highly detailed and peopled with a wealth of personalities. Some scenes felt like gems out of a character driven independent film while others read like big budget action sequences from a Hollywood blockbuster. The ability to shift back and forth between the two is an impressive feat. It shows the author's versatility as a writer. His imagination can swing in both directions taking the reader along for an enjoyable ride through his psyche shifting from crime scenes to romance to the supernatural with ease.


Ghostly Summons can be purchased at:
Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Prices/Formats: $3.99 ebook, paperback
Pages: 312
Publisher: Dark Continents Publishing
Release: March 14, 2013
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

John A. Karr believes fiction writing each day helps keep the demons at bay. Ghostly Summons is his first full-length novel for Dark Continents Publishing. DCP has also published his Weird West novella, Ujahwek. He is the author of a handful of other novels: Death Clause, Hippocrates Shattered (scheduled for reprint by World Castle Publications as Shattered), Rhone, and Van Gogh, Encore. His short stories have appeared on webzines Allegory, The Absent Willow Review, and Danse Macabre. More works are in progress and in the marketing queue.

Karr is an ardent believer in the quote by Carl Van Doren (1885-1950), U.S. man of letters: Yes, it's hard to write, but it's harder not to.

Links to connect with John:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Carol, thanks for the review of John's book!

  2. Carol, thanks very much for giving Ghostly Summons a read and review!