THE WHISPERING DEAD by DARCY COATES
Latest book from Darcy Coates begins with a young woman named Keira fleeing from a group of men who are hunting her. She has no memory of who she is and why she is being pursued. She finds herself at a small church and graveyard, outside the remote town of Blighty, where a kindly pastor lets her stay at the groundskeeper’s cabin. There she discovers that she can see and communicate with the spirits still inhabiting the cemetery and gets embroiled in a mystery, while helping the troubled ghost of a murdered young woman move on from her mournful wandering.
Once again Coates spins an entertaining yarn that is equal parts ghost story and mystery. A story brimming with fog shrouded graveyards, shadow filled woods and locals with dark secrets. It’s the start of a new series, so don’t expect to get answers to all your questions, but Keira is a very engaging character and the town of Blighty a strange and gothic place, filled with some eccentric—and maybe some dangerous—characters. It’s a very quick read and a very entertaining tale, populated with some likable supporting characters, such as Pastor Adage, conspiracy theorist and general store clerk Zoe and charming med student Mason. The type of spooky fun book, perfect for reading under the covers at night, that we’ve come to expect from Coates, and starring a heroine we want to hear more from.
THE CARROW HAUNT by DARCY COATES
Another fun and spooky read from Darcy Coates, though a bit of an uneven one. This book finds Remy, a tour guide in the notoriously haunted Carrow House being hired to host a two week paranormal investigation of the mansion, which has a background of serial killers and murder. She has an eccentric group to watch over, including Carrow’s teen owner, April, the mysterious founder of the investigation, Mark and psychic medium, Marjorie. When things start going wrong and guests start turning up dead, Remy begins to believe this was a bad idea and that the evil in Carrow House is greater than any of them imagined—and maybe even far more corporeal than expected.
Book is another entertaining story, though based on Coates’ books read so far, it is also the most over the top tale from the author. It starts out grounded in the traditional haunted house tropes and a somewhat more down to earth approach, combining haunted house story and soon murder mystery. By it’s last act it gets very theatrical, though, with evil spirits plotting to become corporeal, a storm that seems almost to have a mind of it’s own and a ghost battle royale in a burning house. Depending on one’s tastes, the more bombastic ending may cause the story to lose it’s grip, or you may embrace the more Spielbergian theatrics. There are some plot contrivances in the last act, too, that allow characters thought gone to reappear and it gets a bit much. At least Coates’ penchant for good, fun characters holds up with her largest cast of characters in the books read so far. Her most uneven book to this point overall, but still an entertaining read and Remy is yet another memorable lead heroine.
THE HAUNTING OF BLACKWOOD HOUSE by DARCY COATES
Mara was raised by shyster spiritualists and thus doesn’t believe in ghosts. She purchases Blackwood House, a structure with a past of murder and bloodshed and that is rumored to be haunted. The house comes cheap, for the down on her luck young woman, who rationalizes that a house is just a house. Her Christian boyfriend Neil warns her against living there, but she refuses to believe such superstitious nonsense. The longer she stays there, though, the more weird things start to happen and while determined not to let them shake her disbelief, she soon starts to question maybe the supernatural exists after all and that she might be in real danger!
Another delightfully spooky ghost story/haunted house chiller from Darcy Coates. She first throws in some really endearing characters, such as our heroine, the skeptical and independent Mara, who is in a relationship with the strong, sensitive and caring, Neil. A born Christian, Neil is the Mulder to her Scully. We then get an absolutely spooky old house that was not only home to a serial killer, but in a bizarre twist of fate was built by Mara’s spiritualist great, great grandfather, Victor Barlow. Darcy Coates knows how to describe a haunted house, so it comes vividly to life in our imaginations. She again takes the traditional tropes like footsteps in empty rooms, rocking chairs that rock on their own and bloody hand prints appearing on walls and turns them into a very effective and spooky tale. Add to that, Mara has abilities she refuses to acknowledge that not only attracts spirits, but gives her vivid nightmares of the past, that add to the already chilling atmosphere. It’s one of Coates’ best books read so far and a really spooky story to take to bed and enjoy while safely under the covers. It’s a fast read and another book that is also appropriate for young adults, too. This author has yet to disappoint!
THE HAUNTING OF GILLESPIE HOUSE by DARCY COATES
Another spooky fun haunted house story from Darcy Coates. This one features a young woman named Elle, who has been hired to housesit in the Gillespie House, while the current owners are away. Of course the vacationing couple’s little girl had disappeared there, the house comes with a graveyard on the property and there are ominous tales of it’s founding owner being a cult leader and dabbler in the supernatural. Soon Elle is hearing noises in the walls and begins to investigate the house and it’s sordid background.
Book is once again steeped in some good old fashioned haunted house tropes, such as the before mentioned property graveyard, secret passageways and mysterious locked rooms. Elle is another likable Coates character alone in a spooky situation. It’s a fun time that provides it’s share of goosebumps and mystery as the author knows how to spin a good haunted house yarn. It’s a bit short, but the book provides three additional short stories to add to the fun. One is about a paranormal blogger who encounters a creepy bed and breakfast. The next story is about a young girl, a new house with a past and an eerie crawlspace in her room. The third and best is an unsettling story about a young retail manager named Jodie and some very ominous new mannequins delivered to her store. Anyone with a present or past in retail will especially enjoy that one. All in all, another wonderfully entertaining book to curl up with in bed at night with from Darcy Coates.
THE HAUNTING OF ASHBURN HOUSE by DARCY COATES
Old fashioned ghost story finds down on her luck, freelance writer Adrienne inheriting a large old house from a great aunt she didn’t know she had. She and her tabby Wolfgang move in and soon find out from the locals that the house is said to be haunted and her great Aunt Edith was an eccentric old woman who was also sole survivor of the massacre of her entire family when she was a little girl. Adrienne soon finds out there may be some frightening truth to the local folktales, as things get stranger and stranger inside the house and someone, or something, is stalking her from the grounds outside.
This is a really fun and spooky ghost story from author Darcy Coates. There may be nothing new here, as traditional haunted house tales go, but Coates knows how to use the classic tropes well, adds in a little mystery and gives us a really likable and resilient heroine in Adrienne, to root for. The supernatural hi-jinx get started off quickly, but not too fast that we don’t get time to get to know and endear to the twenty-something, Ashburn heiress before the spooky hits the fan. There are some nice reveals in the last act and Coates really cranks things up for it’s action-packed finale. Book is spooky and graphic enough for adults, but not so much so, that young adults wouldn’t enjoy it’s spunky heroine and spooky specters as well. The Haunting of Ashburn House is also one of the fastest reads encountered in a while and a real page turner. It’s hard to put down once things get going. Looking forward to reading more from Darcy Coates and wonder why no one has optioned this for a movie. It would be a fun and spooky flick in the right hands.