When PI Mac McClellan’s girlfriend convinces him to join the Palmetto Paranormal Society, he becomes embroiled in a case of whooodunnit. The society president, while investigating an old hotel, is found dead at the foot of the stairwell, his neck broken. The man’s secretary and current squeeze stands horrified beside his body. Authorities rule the death an accident. Mac has doubts—no one heard the man tumbling down the stairs. Then the secretary dies in an apparent suicide. Two deaths in two paranormal investigations, and not a peep out of either victim. Mac suspects there’s more going on than a vengeful spirit.
This is book four in the Mac McClellan Mystery series. Anyone who knows me knows I do not read books out of order, but I was assured that it reads well as a standalone and I’m happy to say it does.
Mac McClellan was a marine for 24 years. Two years ago he left that life behind and has been a private investigator for the past year working for Hightower Investigations. Kate Bell is Mac’s girlfriend and works at Gillman’s Marina. Her Uncle Frank is the owner of Hightower Investigations.
The book opens with Mac and Kate investigating the Navarro Hotel to see if it’s haunted. Mac is one of the newer members of the Palmetto Paranormal Society. He’s not really into the whole ghost hunting thing and would rather be home watching the Braves play the Nationals, but he loves Kate and is there to support her. The society members have broken off into pairs and are investigating each floor of the hotel. A scream, from another floor, is heard and Mac rushes to see what has happened and finds Dr. Ernest Bagwell at the bottom of the staircase…dead.
The Palmetto Paranormal Society is shaken up by the doctor’s death, but no one more so than his girlfriend Stella Crawford. The Society regroups and takes in a new member, Will Ingersoll, who replaces Dr. Ernest Bagwell as president. Under the leadership of Will the society members set out on another ghost hunt at the old lighthouse on Five Mile Island. There have been reports of a lady wearing a flowing white dress and they are excited to investigate. While investigating the lighthouse, Kate sees Stella silently fall, from a higher floor, over a four foot rail to her death. Mac can’t believe that these two deaths could both be accidental, so he decides to take matters into his own hands and investigates further.
If paranormal mysteries are not your thing, don’t let that shy you away from this book. Essentially, this is just a good old-fashioned mystery. I feel like this book is a huge mystery puzzle that’s been thrown up into the air and has shattered all over the place and now Mac is left to put all the pieces back together. There are quite a few moving parts to this mystery and a lot of characters – it can be a bit confusing at times, so one needs to be paying close attention.
Mac says it best when he remembers the verse from Sir Walter Scott’s epic “Marmion.”
Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practice to deceive
Mac is smart, inquisitive, and has a good sense of humor about him. He’s a bit of a ladies man and I didn’t think it was necessary to hear his thoughts of every woman he runs into, especially about their physical appearance. That being said I did enjoy this book. E. Michael Helms has an easy-going writing style and the book kept me interested throughout while I was trying to figure out how this mystery puzzle would all fit together in the end.
Just when this mystery seems like it’s all wrapped up, E. Michael Helms throws in one little twist at the end that I didn’t see coming. That was a fun surprise!
Thank you E. Michael Helms for my review copy to read for my honest opinion.
My Rating: 4/5
Series: Mac McClellan Mystery
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication Date: 1/15/2017
Pages: 250 (Paperback)
Have you read this book or others in the series?