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Ghosts of Tsavo (Society for Paranormals) (Volume 1) Paperback – March 7, 2015
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Beatrice Knight, a proper, no-nonsense English lady, possesses the ability to see, sense (and smell) the supernatural. Enlightened of her talents, Professor Runal, a respectable and highly-educated werewolf, recruits her into the “Society of Paranormals and Curious Animals,” where she is trained as an investigator (Imagine Mary Poppins as a paranormal detective. Yes, that delightful.). When the young widow decides to accompany her benefactors to Kenya, Professor Runal takes advantage of the opportunity and assigns a rather reluctant Miss Knight to investigate the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night there. Unsurprisingly, Kenya is teeming with the unearthly and eerie, and in short order, Beatrice finds herself hunting man-eating ghost lions.
I knew within the first few pages I would love this story and the quirky and practical Beatrice Knight. Her voice is charming and authentic, and she and her supporting cast leap from the pages. Vered Ehani is a gifted and skilled writer, and breathes life into her characters. I adored them— humans and non-humans, and find myself even now smiling over their antics and funny quirks.
A solid 5 stars for this extraordinary work of fiction, which has also earned a spot at the top of my “must-read” list. Well done, Vered. I look forward to more from Bea and you.
Unfortunately, though this book was abundant in sarcasm, it lacked in character-development. While Bee is an amusing narrator, she's quite one-dimensional and the only character who has any change in personality is the questionable Mr. Timmons who alternates between snarky and apparently sincere (though, Bee telling us he's being sincere is the only real indication we have of this shift in attitude.) Bee also suffers from something I like to call "easy-cruelty syndrome" in that almost everything out of her mind is unkind, in one way or another, to pretty much everyone around her. She does show some small amount of affection for a few characters but her overall attitude toward everyone around her is disdain barely masked by witticisms. This not only made it difficult for me personally to connect to Bee but it also took away from the emotional journey of the story. While I enjoy a good verbal-sparing as much, if not more than, the next person, Bee's constantly flippant attitude gave the entire story a "well, who really cares" tone. Bee's emotional state doesn't seem to change whether she's discussing her husband's murder, a picnic in the jungle or a nocturnal journey in search of lions.
Despite the above, I did enjoy this book. I read it during a four hour bus ride to Ulaanbaatar and found it the perfect distraction. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, just-for-fun read with a unique setting.