Paranormal Properties by Tracy Lane
Paranormal Properties Book One
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Pants on Fire Press
Number of pages: 192
Word Count: 33,000
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/NwIoLYHHznU
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About the BookJake Weir, while on the set of his parents ghost hunting TV show, agrees to help a ghost investigate a 61 year-old murder.
Jake Weir is not like the other kids in Dusk, North Carolina. Then again, Dusk, North Carolina is not like other cities. Known as one of the most haunted cities in America, behind Salem, Massachusetts and New Orleans, Louisiana, Dusk is ground zero for Jake's ghost hunting parents.
The Weir family has arrived in Dusk eager to scope out some of the town's 127 reported "paranormal properties," which just happens to be the name of their own ghost hunting show: Paranormal Properties. What Jake doesn't know, and what his parents could never imagine, is that Jake can see ghosts! And hear them. And talk back to them! This talent comes in handy when he runs into Dusk's oldest, most famous ghost: one Frank Barrone, a one-time lounge singer made famous by his booze-soaked ballad, "Barroom Eyes."
Frank was gunned down by a local mobster in 1951 and has been searching for his killer ever since. When he learns that Jake can see and hear him, Frank makes young Jake a deal: if Jake will help Frank find his killer, Frank will help his parents find a ghost to film for their upcoming Halloween Special on Public Access Channel #319. Jake enlists the only friend he's made in Dusk, an overweight tomboy nicknamed "Tank," to help him track down Frank's killer. As clues emerge and old leads heat up, Frank and Jake learn they make quite a team. But will Jake find Frank's killer? And will Frank find a real haunted house in time for Halloween?
Background: Jake is the son of the Paranormal Properties husband and wife ghost hunting team, and he has always be skeptical about his parents work. Then they move to Dusk and Jake finds himself face to face with a real ghost, that only he can see and hear, and the ghost needs his help.
Review: Jake, Tank, and Frank are amazingly entertaining characters and the story line of Paranormal Properties is fast paced and fun filled. I really enjoyed the murder mystery wrapped into a ghost story and think that young reads will enjoy it too. Jake is not your normal young boy, he is home-schooled and helps on his parent's show. Tank is the daughter of a local car salesman and befriends Jake in the first few chapters. There isn't a lot of character development, or even information about how their friendship blossoms, but they compliment one another very well. The parents are eccentric and over the top and I think readers will find them funny and a bit weird.
As for the plot, Frank the ghost is from the 1950s and there is a mystery that surrounds his death. Who had him killed? I think it was a very creative way to introduce this character, why not make it a crime solving/ ghost hunting/ mobster tale. All of these elements made for a flourish of a tale. I think you boys and girls will enjoy this mystery and love to continue reading about the Jake and Frank ghost crime solving duo.
The voice was eerie, barely above a whisper. Jake paused, his sneaker poised above a grave as he stood in the middle of Dusk Cemetery.
It was nearly midnight and he’d grabbed the wrong flashlight before sneaking out of his bedroom window. It had run out of juice halfway through the graveyard, and he’d been blindly stumbling around ever since.
The moon was full, but it was frequently obscured by heavy cloud cover and he had to wait until another patch moved through to see very well.
He wasn’t scared, so much. Jake had a special relationship with graveyards, and this was far from his first time at the rodeo. Still, it was the first time a headstone had ever talked to him.
The voice grew louder.
It was a female voice, sounding dark in a way a ghost might: dark and deep and frosty.
He risked another step, letting the moonlight guide his path. It was a big cemetery, and well-maintained as cemeteries go. There were headstones everywhere, some leaning, some taller than Jake.
Jake turned to the left to follow the sound. It was coming from a massive tombstone two feet taller than he was, and three feet wider. He pointed the flashlight at it, but the beacon was dim, even after he banged it three times on the palm of his hand.
Then, suddenly, it lit, falling upon the dead soul’s name: “Rose Colder.”
It was there on the grave stone, but the flashlight flickered out just before he could read the dates.
“Silas…” came the eerie voice again, so close he could hear the ghost’s lips smacking.
But, wait. Did ghosts really have lips to smack?
Jake parted his own lips and spoke for the first time since walking into the graveyard. “R-R-Rose?”
He hadn’t meant to stutter, but he couldn’t help it. He heard a rasp, or a cough, and then the crunch of dry leaves behind the headstone.
“Silas?” was the reply, and then the rustling of cheap plastic against flesh. The clouds broke, the moon shone down, and a giant, yellow monster reared from behind the headstone, smiling.
“Gotcha!” said the beast, in a boastful, girlish voice. It was a girl, a giant girl, a living girl in a big, yellow raincoat.
“W— who are you?” Jake stammered, trying to hold his ground. He had to look up a good four inches to see her face.
Her eyes glittered beneath her short, greasy hair. She was heavy, but with her big smile and that cheerful way about her, she looked more nice than scary.
“I’m Tank,” she said proudly, inching closer to him with big black and white sneakers crunching over dry, dead leaves. “Who are you?”
“Jake Weir,” he said, relieved he didn’t stammer that time. “And who…who’s Silas?”
“Don’t you know?” she asked, sitting down on one of the large marble slabs that surrounded Rose Colder’s grave. She patted the one next to him, and he sat, too.
He didn’t know why, but even in a graveyard, even after pranking him in her big, yellow raincoat that made her look like a linebacker for an NFL team, this “Tank” girl didn’t scare him.
“No,” he replied.
Tank frowned. “Rose Colder,” she explained, “snuck out at midnight to meet her boyfriend, Silas Miner, in this very cemetery over a hundred years ago. But Silas’s Dad didn’t approve of his son dating a commoner, so he kept Silas from seeing her and sent a couple of local thugs to teach Rose a lesson. When the thugs showed up, Rose fought back…and lost. They buried her here, and legend has it that every night, at midnight, she rises from her grave to take revenge on the men who ended her life.”
“So…so that’s why you were calling me Silas?”
Tank nodded, and then slugged him on the shoulder. “What are you doing here, anyway?” Jake shrugged. He didn’t really want to tell her.
She pulled a flashlight from her raincoat pocket and flicked it on, right in his eyes. “Hey!” He held up a hand to shield his face.
“Wait, hold up.” Tank pointed the beam up. “What’s that on your hat?”
Jake blushed. He’d grabbed the hat at the last minute, not thinking about it. He had so many of them, and they all looked alike: black ball cap, neon green writing that spelled “Paranormal Properties.”
“You…you work for that TV show? The ghost hunting one?”
“You know about it?” Jake was surprised. They’d just gotten into town, and his parents hadn’t even filmed an episode here yet. That’s what he was doing out in the graveyard at midnight, trying to find something extra special for a new episode.
Of course, they’d kill him if they found out, but he figured it would be worth it if they finally got more than a handful of people to watch.
“Know about it?” Tank shouted. “I watch it every week! You know, the live feed on the web page. We don’t have any local channels that play it.”
Jake beamed in appreciation. “Cool,” he said.
“So,” Tank urged, nudging his knee with her own. He noticed she was wearing plaid pants under her yellow rain coat. “Do you work for it or what?”
“My Mom is the host. My Dad is the cameraman.”
Tank gasped and shoved Jake with each word. “No. Way! Get. Out. Of. Town!”
She stopped shoving him and stood up instead, yanking him by the sleeve of his T-shirt. Dragging him from the cemetery, she said, “I love your Mom. You have to tell me all about her.”
“Where are we going?” he asked, finally regaining use of his feet and catching up to her.
She saw him at her side, looked down and let him go. “There’s a diner around the corner, open all night. I’m buying you a hot fudge sundae and you’re going to tell me all about what it’s like to have famous parents.”
“Famous?” he chuckled as he followed her past the cemetery gate. His Mongoose bike was sitting there, dry and rusty, just where he’d left it.
“Sure thing.” She reached behind some bushes and lifted out a green ten speed with just one hand.
They mounted their bikes and, now that he was looking for it, Jake saw the neon sign for the Dusk Diner just around the corner. Yet, something was still bugging him. “Hey,” he said, “what were you doing in the graveyard at midnight?”
Tank shrugged. “Couldn’t sleep.”
“So you went to a cemetery?”
She shrugged again, pedaling off. While struggling to catch up, Jake heard her say, “Hey, I met you, didn’t I?”
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About the AuthorI was fascinated with the paranormal when I was very young. I always felt like someone was around me even when I was alone. It caused me to be inspired to write a paranormal book where a teenager can see and hear ghosts and actually makes friends with one.
I use to love to write short stories in school and always wanted to be a writer. But raising children and working jobs I just could not find the time to indulge my passion. Then my children grew up and I ended up having two teenagers at home who did not need as much attention from me. I started toying with the idea of writing once again. So setting aside 5 to 10 minutes per day to write at least one page I could end up with a book a year. Now Paranormal Properties is published and I have a list of 8 more books to write. I don't think I"ll be slowing down anytime soon.