Review: The Caldwell Ghost & Butterflies (The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal # 1 & 2) by K.J. Charles

When Robert Caldwell inherits a haunted house, he calls on ghost-hunter Simon Feximal to rid him of the supernatural menace. But the ghost is stronger than either man realizes -- strong, angry, and desperate for release. Trapped in a haunted house with a dangerously attractive ghost-hunter and a sexually frustrated spirit, can Robert survive the night intact...and will he want to?

K.J. Charles’ “The Magpie Lord” is the absolute best book I have read all year. Not many authors can creep the hell out of you, while making you laugh and then leave you fanning yourself and re-reading repeatedly her more sensual scenes.  So of course I went all fangirl twirley when I saw that she was releasing The Caldwell Ghost, the first book in her new series The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal. I am a voracious reader but usually I don’t like to read short stories. Just when you get into the rhythm of the tale you blink and it’s over…if the story is bad it is wasted seconds of your life and if it is any good it is like that Brazilian summer exchange student that left you in a fetal position crying for more.  When I saw it was $1.99 for only 17 freakin’ pages , well yeah NOOO came to mind.  The buzz around the tale though just kept building and many of my friends were all in a tizzy about how much they really liked the story, and not one of them complained about the price. Then Charles released Butterflies the second book in the series (which is a little longer and free) amping up the cacophony urging me to read the books.  Boy, did I have major crow to eat (crow –magpies hee -snort) because man can Charles write... she crams more story into those few pages than most authors do in full length novels.
If you look at this story as an introduction to the tales, it is the perfect prologue to set the mood. The stories are Robert Caldwell’s unedited versions of previously written censored tales of  famous Ghost Hunter Simon Feximal. The set up in the first story is the meeting between Robert Caldwell and Feximal.  Simon is described as looking like an archaic priest with steely gray hair… ummm wait what really? He has a young face though, and then you realize this man has seen and done some things that have ravaged him throughout the years, but once the story gets going sexy doesn’t begin to describe the way you see Simon.  Charles has a way of vividly drawing images in your mind much in the same way the tattoos crawl across her characters' bodies...and I mean literally crawl.
Great googly moogly  K.J. Charles can scare the crap out of her readers. She has you turning on all the lights and getting under the covers, jumping at every noise. But like that idiot that goes into the other room because they heard something, I can not stop reading! Then, just as quickly, she can fog up the room in a whole different way... leaving you restless and moaning, and moaning ... whew......
ok we go on....
The series is supposed to chronicle 20 years of adventures between Ghost hunter extraordinaire Simon and his companion Caldwell. It is no stretch to compare their relationship to Holmes and Watson, Arthur and Merlin, Bert and Ern.... well ok you get the point.. These two men belong together. I don't want to go into more details because you need to enjoy the whole experience.

I had a major epiphany when reading a specific quote
I know about stories. They must have endings. A story without an ending is an unbearable itch to the reader.
Sound the hallelujah choir, this is why I hate cliffhangers!! It is like that itch in the middle of your back you can't reach.

Well I did not feel cheated after reading "The Caldwell Ghost" and yet I want to read more about them. Thank goodness I was able to go right to the next story.

Journalist Robert Caldwell is still smarting from his first encounter with ghost-hunter Simon Feximal. Their night in a haunted house was thrilling, but the aftermath leaves Robert hurt, disappointed, and resolved not to see Simon again.

But just a few days later their paths cross once more, this time investigating a pair of mysterious deaths: two corpses shrouded in butterflies.

Now Robert wants the truth – on the deaths, on where the butterflies came from, and most of all, on the attraction that still burns between him and Simon.
A free standalone short story (8700 words) in the Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal.

Butterflies starts right where we left off… yippie, I love it when we get right back into their lives and I am not left feeling that the characters were having fun without me... yay!
There is a much talked about scene in The Magpie Lord that is the single most horrific thing I have ever read ! It had me glued to the pages. I could not stop reading that scene even while my heart was thumping wildly. Well, Butterflies has an equally horrific scene, where people are being killed by thousands of swarming butterflies, choking them to death. I know what you're thinking, butterflies can kill, really? But it is so logical it will leave you running away from them faster than rats or spiders from now on.  Who effing knew….well J.K. Charles knew... Thank God.
I hate true horror stories. I don’t like blood and guts and yet I am riveted by Charles’ writing. We follow along jumping at shadows with Caldwell and Feximal while they try to figure out where the butterflies are coming from, why they would kill and who is desecrating ancient crypts… Come on!!! We all know you don’t touch the damn burial grounds…sheesh Ghost Hunting 101 people. Did we learn nothing from Scooby Doo?
The humor and chemistry between Caldwell and Feximal also help to ease the scary tension. Of course it ramps it up in other areas but I am not complaining.
I am really excited to read this series and am hoping for many more vignettes.
J.K. Charles is now an automatic buy, no matter the price or length.

No comments:

Post a Comment