Friday, December 21, 2012

Book Review: The Beldam's Eye (The Beldam Series, #1) by Jennifer Rainey

The Beldam’s Eye

Author: Jennifer Rainey

Purchase on Amazon.

Synopsis: When Erasmus Bramble finds the recently-deceased Angus Heyer rummaging through his kitchen cabinets, he knows he has a unique case on his hands. 

As paranormal investigators in rural Ohio, Ras and his business partner Antony Yeats tackle ghostly problems on a daily basis, from poltergeist exterminations to troubled spirits just looking for a shoulder to cry on. Angus isn’t looking for ghost therapy. He needs Ras and Yeats to help him retrieve a pocket watch stolen from him after death, a pocket watch that is said to be cursed: The Beldam’s Eye. 

The skeptical Ras and Yeats agree to take Angus’s case, but they soon find themselves in over their heads, facing murder, theft and perilous dark magic. Is it all just backwoods superstition or is the curse of The Beldam’s Eye grisly reality?

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Side Note: This book is better suited for an audience sixteen and older. There is use of profanity, scenes of murder, kidnapping and assault.

Review: I am a big fan of old fashioned ghost stories so I was excited to get my hands on The Bedlam’s Eye and my excitement only grew as I read. I had so much fun reading this book and enjoyed not only the characters but the plot.

Ras and Yeats are best buds who own not only an antique shop but a paranormal investigation business. They aren’t your typical paranormal investigation team though. Instead of hunting down ghosts and banishing them into the afterlife, they take on scheduled appointments of clients who have a ghost haunting their homes or businesses and communicate with the ghosts in the hopes of discovering how to help them complete their unfinish business and adjust to being dead. In the town of Bedbury, Ohio as well as around the country, ghosts are no longer seen as the scary, evil paranormal entities haunting people’s homes but as pets people like to keep around to tell good stories or make themselves the talk of the town. Although, there are still plenty of pesky ghosts who would rather cause mayhem and trouble, which soon finds Ras and Yeats. One evening a deceased Angus Heyer pays Ras a surprise visit, urgently needing his help to get back a pocket watch and make sure the widowed wife of an old friend, Isabelle Montrose, doesn’t get her hands on it since he sure she plans to use it for evil. You see the pocket watch is far more than a watch and Angus Heyer has a lot more riding on the request than either Ras or Yeats are prepare to handle.

I liked the contrast between Ras and Yeats’ characters. Ras is British, carries himself with an air of sophistication and takes his job very serious. He has a dry sort of sense of humor and looks over every detail and aspect of a job. Yeats is sarcastic, keeps his emotions to himself and doesn’t trusts people let alone ghosts. He’s a great balance for Ras. They have a close brotherly type bond and have an amusing way of handling each other.

One of my favorite aspects of the plot was the element of the curse attached to the pocket watch and how it connected to the spirit world. The pocket watch has the ability to grant the owner who puts the pieces together any and every desire he or she may think of but there some nasty consequences once the owner dies. The Bedlam’s Eye explores how the pocket watch came to be, how Angus Heyer ended up attached to it after death, and why it’s cursed. One thing that wasn’t explained was how Angus Heyer got the watch in the first place and how exactly Anna Rose’s (a prostitute who conjured magic and ended up dying because of it) mother went about conjuring it to get revenge against the first owner of the watch, Claude Plank. I hope the next three installments in the Bedlam Series we are able to see how the cursed pocket watch was created.

Another aspect of the plot I liked was the connection some of the ghosts had to the elements. There are water spirits, fire spirits and earth spirits. They each carry a lot of human qualities but also qualities of the elements they can now possess. Aletheia, a ghost who hangs out at the antique shop Ras and Yeats own, was one of my favorite characters. She was cute and sweet and a team player. She definitely helps to save Ras’ butt when he catches himself in some big trouble! I do hope though that her character is more fleshed out as the series continues. She had moments where she came off flat and stale. I would like to see more spark behind her character, especially since she’s a water spirit.

There were a few moments where the book faltered and the pacing slowed down but thankfully, not too many. There was also a good amount of repetition, particularly in the middle of the book so the author should be careful with that in future books. Winnie and Pete’s characters were the most annoying characters I think I have ever read. When they were on the scene, they would drag out the book because they were either being completely useless or whinnying. I could have done without them. I also didn’t like the male being named Winnie and the female being named Pete. I’m sure there is some clever message the author wanted to state through that but it just made the scenes with them feel awkward and uncomfortable.

For the most part though, the pacing is solid and the suspense build up is pretty good. The characterization, even for Yeats and Ras, can have more depth. I would like to see more scenes of Ras and Yeats interacting outside of the paranormal business and Yeats play more of a hand in the business. Everything seemed too centered on Ras even though Yeats was supposed to be very much involved as well. Isabelle Montrose worked out as a villain well enough but the story behind why she wanted the pocket watch wasn’t sinister enough or even pitiful enough to really drive the determination behind her actions. I would have liked to have read more of a twist.

Overall, The Bedlam’s Eye was a good beginning in a series. I look forward to reading more about Ras and Yeats and what will happen with the curse after what happened in the end.

Fans of the paranormal genre will have a good time with this short and humorous read.

About the Author: Jennifer Rainey was raised by wolves who later sold her to gypsies. She then joined the circus at the age of ten. There, she was the flower girl in the famed Bearded Bride of Beverly Hills show until the act was discontinued (it was discovered that the bearded lady was actually a man). From there, she wandered around the country selling novelty trucker hats with vaguely amusing sayings printed on front. Somehow, she made enough money to go to The Ohio State University for a major in English.

Her first novel, These Hellish Happenings, was released in November of 2010, and her latest, The Beldam's Eye, came out on September 25th, 2012!

Where to Find the Author

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