- Author: Carmen Stefanescu
- Published: June 2016 by Solstice Publishing
- Category: Contemporary, Paranormal
Barbara Heyer can hear voices of dead people. They whisper of their deaths, seek comfort for those left behind, and occasionally even warn her about future events. But when Barbara’s brother, Colin, is accused of murder, it will take more than her gift to prove his innocence.
The book description was promising and the paranormal aspect intriguing, coupled with the fact the story explores reincarnation and past lives, all of which fascinate me. And I love the cover image.
Barbara Heyer is able to talk to spirits and help their families come to terms with the loss of their loved ones. She was ten when she had her first experience, a visit from her dead grandfather. Since then it’s been a regular occurrence. Barbara is driving home when she gets an interrupted message from someone called Kathleen, mentioning her brother, Colin, and the fact someone has murdered her. A visit from Detective Patrick Fischer, who Barbara feels an instant connection to, confirms Barbara’s worst fears. Her brother is the prime suspect in Kathleen’s murder.
“Yes, ma’am. He’s accused of murder. First degree murder. Are you aware of a friend of his, called Kathleen? Kathleen Page?”
Barbara’s mouth went agape. “This name. Again.” She shook her head incredulously.
“What do you mean, again?” He jammed his hands in the front pockets of his raincoat and raised his eyebrows.
“Well, detective. It’s a long, complicated story…Not the type of story you policemen usually believe.”
Barbara has a terrible fear of fire and experiences vivid dreams about someone called Emma. She agrees to a past life regression with her new friend, Amanda. The time slip section of the book shows life as it was, with no recourse for women who find themselves at the mercy of men, especially men with no scruples.
“Good. Then we’ll get along well, I’m sure. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ You will have a future, then, in our house,” he said.
It started off all right but unfortunately the book as a whole fell flat for me. There were a few issues – the characters lacked depth and charisma and I couldn’t connect with them. Some of the narrative and dialogue didn’t flow, seeming exaggerated and unnatural. The romance between Barbara and Patrick wasn’t convincing enough and the reason for the break didn’t make any sense.
It’s a good premise with a great choice of subject matter, some vividly descriptive passages and the potential is there. A thorough edit and proofread would iron out the irregularities in the turn of phrase and word choices, and correct the punctuation and grammar where needed, making it a smoother, easier read.
Reviewed for Rosie Amber’s book review team and based on a digital copy from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of my review.
About Carmen Stefanescu
Carmen Stefanescu was born in Romania, the native country of the infamous vampire Count Dracula, but where, for about 50 years of communist dictatorship, just speaking about God, faith, reincarnation or paranormal phenomena could have led someone to great trouble – the psychiatric hospital if not to prison.
Teacher of English and German in her native country and mother of two daughters, Carmen Stefanescu survived the grim years of oppression, by escaping in a parallel world, that of the books.
She has dreamed all her life to become a writer, but many of the things she wrote during those years remained just drawer projects. The fall of the Ceausescu’s regime in 1989 and the opening of the country to the world meant a new beginning for her. She started publishing. Poems first, and then prose. Both in English.