18 June 2010

A Victoria Laurie binge

I received Victoria Laurie's eighth Psychic Eye book, A Glimpse of Evil, in the bundle from the publisher last week, and realized that I still hadn't read the seventh,Doom with a View, which I'd picked up at Borders a few months ago.

In Doom with a View, Abby and her best friend, PI Candice Fusco are asked to consult on an FBI missing persons case by her old friend Bill Gaston. Three college students are missing; all are children of political figures. Abby is certain that the first two are dead and the third is still alive. For some reason, she is told to search for them in order of disappearance, which makes sense if you don't believe in Abby's intuition, which is the issue with the agent supervising the case, Brice Harrison. Harrison is not only skeptical, but openly hostile to Abby's approach, and makes it clear that he's only indulging his superiors by pretending to assist her.

While reading this book, I kept thinking how outlandish it was that two civilians would be allowed such leeway by the FBI. I decided that it's best to read this series as a complete fantasy, which makes it a quick, fun, engrossing read.

At the end of the book, (yes, I'm going to give away the ending, but not the process) Abby's significant other, Dutch is offered a position at a new FBI office in Austin, TX. He accepts once Abby is offered a job as a profiler at the same place.

A Glimpse of Evil begins as Abby and Dutch are driving to Austin with their two dachsunds. Candice and Brice (who fell for each other at the end of Doom), are already there, as Brice is in charge of the new division.

The job of the agents in the new office is to audit cold cases (there are banker's boxes full of files lining the walls) to see if they can be closed. Abby's intuition will be one of their tools. Strangely, Abby is put to work with a stack of files just like the other agents. She finds their system unwieldy, and quickly works out her own. When her supervisors learn of this, they have her start evaluating each file to see if it's worth reopening.

She's sent out with an experienced field agent to find a vehicle that was used in a crime, and on the way back from this successful mission, the agent asks Abby to look at one of his old cold cases. They are not far from the location of one of the witnesses, and against all protocol, take a detour to visit him. The agent is injured, and both he and Abby are suspended pending an investigation.

There's a lot going on in this book. Brice and Candice are crazy about each other, but for some reason have trouble communicating this and break up and get back together several times during the course of the story. Candice, who does not yet have her PI license, convinces Abby (still suspended) to continue to investigate a case involving missing children.

There are many incidents that require extreme suspension of disbelief, but as mentioned earlier, if that's done the books are a lot of fun.

In between those two books, I came across a borrowed copy of Ghouls Gone Wild, the fourth book of Laurie's Ghost Hunter Mysteries, and decided to read that to prevent an overdose of Abby. (It must be noted here that I stayed up very late three nights in a row with these three books.)

This series stars medium M.J. Holliday. The ghost-busting business she began with best buddy "Gilley" Gillespie is faltering due to the economy. Gilley has managed to get them a gig doing an international ghost-busting reality television series called Ghoul Getters, with another medium named Heath Whitefeather.

Their first stop will be Scottish village called Queen's Close, which M.J. insisted upon when she was shown a film clip of a local man using a dog to scout for spirits. This book is much more intense than the earlier ones, and not for the faint-of-heart, which is made obvious with the graphic description of the dog's reaction to being dragged into an obviously haunted place.

M.J. and her crew discover that a mass-slaughter had taken place in the village, and their arrival there appears to have aroused the angry beings. When trying to get baseline readings, M.J. and Heath are attacked by ghosts, and Gilley is badly injured when the crew's van rolls down a steep incline with him in it. The descriptions of incidents such as these is detailed and vivid, and does require some amount of dissociation.

Although there's a lot more of the "woo-woo" element in this much darker series, for some reason it seems more plausible than the other. The two series are similar but different, and both enjoyable.

Ghouls gone Wild and A Glimpse of Evil each contain the first chapter of the upcoming books in that series.


  1. Marlyn, I have all of the Psychic Eye series except the last one in my tbr shelf. I also have read the first in the Ghost Hunter Mysteries and I loved it. Have tried twice to start the Psychic Eye ones and both times put the book down because I just couldn't get into it. I'll probably give the book another try at some point since I have 7 of that series on my shelf, but I won't be buying any more of that series unless I can actually read some of them and be interested.

    Isn't it strange how we can really like one series by an author yet not care as much for another series they write?

  2. Interesting article, Marlyn. I'm always interested in how readers accept psychics in books because my protag in MEMORY OF A MURDER has psychic gifts. I hate it when writers are unrealistic about psychic abilities and when they confuse psychics (who dont't see ghosts) with mediums (who do.)I modeled Adam kingston after real-life psychics who use their gifts to assist law enforcement agencies solve crimes. In none of the reviews and comments does anyone mention the psychic elements. I like to think that says I made it credible and believable.


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