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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Book Review: World Tree Girl: A Shadow Valley Manor Novel (Book 2) by Kerry Schafer

World Tree Girl: A Shadow Valley Manor Novel (The Shadow Valley Manor Series Book 2) 
by Kerry Schafer
August 8, 2017
Diversion Books
280 pages
“If you like X-Files and Ilona Andrews, you'll love this awesome, well-crafted and unusual tale!” —Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The girl with the full-body tattoo of a world tree is not just another runaway. She's dead, for starters, and her veins are emptied of blood and oozing a strange, jelly-like substance. To Maureen Keslyn, seasoned paranormal investigator, former FBI agent, new owner of the Shadow Valley Manor Retirement Home, this isn’t just a corpse. It’s a sign that the Medusa, a dangerous paranormal hybrid, is on another killing spree.

Maureen and her team—Jake, the local sheriff, Matt, the Shadow Valley Manor cook with knife skills that extend beyond the kitchen, and eighteen-year-old Sophronia, who has an uncanny affinity for ghosts—are determined to hunt down and eliminate the creature.

Their case is complicated by the ghost of Maureen’s former partner, Phil Evers, who refuses to cross to the other side, and his very much alive daughter Jillian, who shows up demanding to know how Maureen inherited the Manor. When Sophronia uses her power to try to help Phil across, a huge spirit storm blows up at Shadow Valley Manor, and she disappears. With the life of one of their own in deadly peril, Maureen and the team have a ticking clock to find Sophronia and bring down the Medusa.

World Tree Girl is the second installment in the Shadow Valley Manor series. The series follows retired FBI agent Maureen Keslyn, reluctant proprietor of Shadow Valley Manor, a retirement residence willed to her by her deceased former partner/lover. Having spent most of her career investigating the paranormal, Maureen is on high alert knowing all too well that sometimes mysterious occurrences have fantastic explanations. When a local morgue worker with connections to Maureen’s previous case turns up dead, she and her partner Jake are immediately plunged headlong into an investigation that defies logic and reason. Once again, the manor becomes the epicentre for paranormal activity; a quirky backdrop for a supernatural thriller.

Amidst the main mystery are several interpersonal entanglements rounding out the story. Maureen and her crew face constant danger, the origins of which remain largely unknown. As a main character, Maureen kicks ass. She’s middle aged; a touch I find refreshing and honest. In a genre dominated by 20-something heroines, I respect Schafer’s bravery in choosing to work outside of the norm. Maureen is tough, smart, and witty. Her attraction to Jake also reminds readers that older characters can also be attractive, sexual beings.

I’m excited to see where this series goes. For every answer uncovered, a slew of new questions arise. World Tree Girl has elements of government conspiracy giving it a definite X-Files vibe. Shadow Valley Manor is proving to be an intriguing, original series. Let’s hope it’s got some longevity as well.

Review: Dead Before Dying: A Shadow Valley Manor Novel (Book 1)

Five Sheep

Bianca Greenwood

About the Author:
Kerry Schafer writes fantasy with its teeth sunk into reality, mystery that delves into the paranormal, and women’s fiction that embraces the dark and twisty realms of humanity. The first two books of her Between trilogy (Between and Wakeworld) were published through Ace Books/Penguin. Due to the ever-shifting landscape of publishing, the concluding book of the trilogy - The Nothing - was released as an Indie book, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign. The first book in Kerry's Paranormal Mystery series, Dead Before Dying, will be released by Diversion Books on Feb 9, 2016. She also writes Women's Fiction as Kerry Anne King.

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