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The Ghosts of Varner Creek [Kindle Edition]

Michael L. Weems
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (763 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $0.99
You Save: $7.00 (88%)

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Book Description

A well-crafted balance of history and supernatural mystery. -Kirkus Reviews
•A Barnes and Noble Nook Sci Fi/Fantasy Bestseller
•A Kindle #1 Bestseller in Historical Fiction and Horror/Ghosts
•An Amazon Top 100 Rated in Fiction, Top 10 in Mysteries

Kirkus Reviews
At 87, Solomon "Sol" Mayfield is taken on an otherworldly journey to discover what really happened to his family. Sol has been able to see ghosts ever since his mother and sister mysteriously disappeared when he was a child. When he dies in a nursing home in the second chapter of the novel, it's only the beginning of his story. He's reunited with his sister, Sarah, who reveals family secrets he was never able to learn while he was alive. The novel flashes back to 1909, when Sol was 12 and Sarah was 13. The day after Sarah's birthday, Sol wakes up to find that his mother and sister are gone. Many in their small town of Varner Creek, Texas, assume that Sol's mother, Annie, had finally had enough of his abusive father, Abram; others suspect foul play. Abram blamed Annie for Sarah's Down syndrome and for trapping him in a small town by becoming pregnant at 14. Sent to live with his Aunt Emma and Uncle Colby, Sol is visited one night by what appears to be Sarah's ghost. Is his sister dead? If so, who killed her? And what about their mother? Sol sets out to find the answers, some of which are not revealed until decades later. Weems' story unfurls slowly, at a pace that feels consistent with life in a small Texas town. He has an impressive knack for dialect, and regional accents and idioms help bring the characters into vivid relief. Also, Sol's self-deprecation and world-weary charm make him an instantly likable narrator. While it's easy to get pulled into his story, the narrative sags a bit in the middle when the reader is given a thorough history of how Sol's parents met, which doesn't feel entirely necessary to the main story. When the final mystery is unveiled, however, the solution is sufficiently unexpected if not completely shocking.

Author note: Not a horror story or thriller. This is a paranormal mystery in the old South. Recommended 18+ for adult themes and content.

Editorial Reviews


  • "A well-crafted balance of history and supernatural mystery." - Kirkus Reviews                                                                                                                                                                    
  • "Very well written . . . this debut novel is a real page turner with some very interesting characters."-Jani Brooks, Romance Review Today
  • This was a wonderfully woven story about an American family, their secrets, tragedies, love lost and redeemed. - Goodreads 5 Star Review from Robert Stadnik, author of Exodus Of The Phoenix, Phoenix Among The Stars, and Tales Of A Former Child Superhero.
  • Terrific book! This story was haunting and chilled me to the core. I couldn't read fast enough to find out what happened to the characters.- Nook 5 Star Review
  • Never anything but page-turning . . . I was hooked on this book right from the start. -  Dr. Jon P. Bloch, Professor, Author, and Reviewer for The Kindle Book Review, blog website.

From the Author

18+ only, please, as some of the subject matter is not suitable at all for younger readers.

Product Details

  • File Size: 586 KB
  • Print Length: 169 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GT0LZE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,516 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
140 of 146 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read... August 17, 2011
By Mr Laz
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am happy to note that this book is starting to pick up a following. I bought it because I had enjoyed Border Crossing, and I was looking for the same kind of mind candy, easy reading entertainment that that book was. I was pleasantly surprised at the story line, and then totaly engrossed as the plot unfolded. The Ghosts of Varner Creek is not so much a ghost story as it is the story of the dark ghosts in a family's past. And believe me, that past is dark. The story starts in the present, with the passing of the main character, and then is told mostly in the first person from beyond the grave as he flashes back to the events of his youth in the rural south at the turn of the century. The plot is well crafted and gripping with just the right amount of suspense. The characters are real and well developed, and the ending is satisfying, with just a few plot twists to keep the reader surprised. It was a real page turner, and more than a bargain at 99 cents. If you're looking to be entertained by a great read, do yourself a favor and download The Ghosts of Varner Creek. I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Bravo Mr. Weems. Keep them coming.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bloated but good January 24, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Let me just say I thought this book was well written and there were times when a certain passage stopped me in my tracks because it was so beautifully crafted. The style is well done. The book begins slowly but, after getting to the end, I understand why.

I have to say, though, that I found the long paragraphs tedious to read sometimes. I had to give the book a rest not because of the plot but because it was just plain difficult to read. This was not due to spelling and grammar, both of which were very good, but simply structure. Sometimes you can say more with one sharp sentence than you can with five.

Verdict: A unique read that improves rapidly after the few couple of chapters.
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61 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW September 30, 2011
By Gloria
Format:Kindle Edition
I did not expect something so wonderful. Old West Gothic is the best way I can describe this treasure. It's amazing that Weems was able to craft such a poignant tale without resorting to silly metaphores and flowery prose. If you enjoy a finely crafted tale and bitter-sweet endings, you'll love this book. It is definately one I'll be reading again and again.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The Ghosts of Varner's Creek, e-book by Michael Weems is the second of this author's books I have read, and I find it equally interesting from an entirely different perspective.
Ghosts is one of the more unusual stories I have read. It is a mystery, but also a tale of the supernatural and borders on the macabre. Yet in some ways, it also presents nostalgic images of a time and place in the rural south of the United States, and a way of life, that no longer exists.
The protagonist is an eighty-seven- year-old man living in an assisted living residence who is visited by ghosts. They start him on the way to reminiscences of his early childhood and teens. He recalls many incidents of living in a small town in the rural south and of harsh treatment by his father. He discovers that his mother and father married as a result of moral pressure and that the harsh treatment he received resulted from the fact that his father had been brutally abused as a child. This explained the projection of the extension of the harsh treatment to his mother and mentally retarded sister as well. He remembers when ghosts first appeared in these early days and of how they ultimately lead him to his missing sister. I believe provision of more specifics of the story would not be in the reader's best interests because it is an involved story with some surprising twists.
I should recommend this book to anyone who likes `something different' in a plot. I also believe that there should be a caveat for the more `sensitive reader' of whom there seems to be an increasing number. This is `dark' story based on implied parental/spousal abuse. Reviewed by John H. Manhold, award winning fiction/non-fiction author.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Read Overall -- Not a true ghost story per se March 30, 2012
By Mike P.
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a a solidly good read, but meanders at times, and well worth the moderate investment.

Despite the title and introduction on Amazon, it's not a "real" ghost story with heavy emphasis on the supernatural. The ghosts in this story are well integrated into the plot but really only come in at the very beginning and very end -- if you like supernatural emphasis, this probably isn't for you. Instead, it's a turn of the century story about an old man remembering his childhood and the tragic secrets that made up his life as he passes away.

First, the setting of southern late 1800s to early 1900s is pleasant and engaging, with old world charm and interesting characters. Second, the plot centers around family drama and tragedy -- it's in no way a happy story but it is well written overall with good characterization. You'll be satisfied with the plot resolution but it's definately not a cheery tone overall!

I limited the rating to three stars for two reasons: many paragraphs relate an incident in a meandering fashion, I simply wanted to speed it up and I got a little bored waiting for the next key plot shift. The other reason is that I enjoyed the book but just wasn't completely engaged in the story and character (personal preference here, I'm sure). I do recommend reading this book -- it's a good value for the money.
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More About the Author

Michael Weems is a practicing attorney in Houston, Texas. He is currently a "hobby" author with two novels to date.

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