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by Victoria Laurie
Signet, April 2007
304 pages
ISBN: 0451220900

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

MJ Holiday and her business partner Gilley Gillespie own their own business. MJ can communicate with the dead so she once worked as a medium. Finding the experiences too stressful and emotionally painful, she now works as an exorcist. This is a difficult business to get into but she and Gilley are slowly building a solid reputation.

In WHAT'S A GHOUL TO DO?, they are hired by Dr Steven Sable. His grandfather died in the family home and now his ghost haunts the residence. Dr Sable would like to know if his grandfather truly killed himself and then have him removed from the house. Unlike most of MJ's clients, Steven wants to accompany her on her ghost-busting adventure.

Once at the estate, MJ discovers things are not as simple as she believed. There are multiple ghosts in residence and she will need to discover how they died in order to help them cross over. Unfortunately this proves challenging as Sable's murderer does not want the truth found. As additional people are killed, the exorcism becomes a race for survival. MJ must solve this murder before she, Gilley or Steven become victims themselves.

WHAT'S A GHOUL TO DO is well written and the characters are entertaining, but this may not be a book that will appeal to the general reading public. As the focus of this book is the supernatural, a large portion of the plot deals with spirits, spiritualism and MJ's actions and beliefs in relation to said topics. For example, the book details the events MJ notices in her job such as lower temperatures, unexplained sounds, sights and motions. It also provides details on how she investigates haunted homes and how she helps ghosts past over. While Victoria Laurie does a good job of presenting her opinions and supporting her theories, these ideas are not necessarily beliefs that will be widely accepted by every reader.

While I do not have problems with books that focus on the supernatural, I did have a couple of problems with this book. I did not think the interactions between Steven and MJ were all that interesting. They spend the entire book edging around a romantic relationship but their interactions are pretty trite and stereotypical. In addition, Steven was too egotistical to be appealing.

While some people are able to excuse bad behavior when the person is from a foreign country, being foreign does not automatically make a character attractive. This subplot was in no way original nor beneficial to the plot. By following convention and using this stereotypical subplot, WHAT'S A GHOUL TO DO lost any advantage it had based on the concept of a ghost-hunting heroine.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, April 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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